I’m trying to return to a consistent running regime purely as a way of boosting fitness, getting outside in nature and having some headspace.
My running has become inconsistent through lockdown, I’ve gained over 2 stone in weight and COVID has left me with sore joints. I’m 51 years old.
I’ve started with MAF, and am enjoying it. It is awkward running so slowly (13 min/mile) but I can get “in the zone”, it isn’t aggravating my joints - in fact the pain goes whilst running - and it isn’t leaving me over-exerted in the way more normal paced running does.
Finally then to my question. What would you recommend technique wise? I’m utilising a “run tall” approach, focussing on keeping my back straight, head up and chest forwards and running with a very short stride length and a cadence of around 170 - any more than that pushes my HR over the MAF limit. I’ve also found long deep breathing and relaxing my arms and shoulders help control my HR. Am I along the right lines? It feels ok, sometime good even, although I am sometimes tempted to drop my arms down and run with my hands by my hips as that again keeps me relaxed but I wonder if that is a bad habit to get into especially if/when my pace starts to increase.
Thanks for the great question Andy.
Many people find their gait changes when they start out running at MAF. It can feel clunky and awkward at first and takes some getting used to. By running slowly you may be targeting different muscles than if you were running faster and this can feel uncomfortable to start with. However that is not to say that you can't run slowly and with good posture.
You seem to be doing a lot of the right things but also have a look at my page on running posture which will give you some guidance on good posture.
A couple of other links you might find useful:
The 180 gait
Gait - part 1
Gait - part 2
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