Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orthotics (#3) - maybe I raise "white flag"

still no running, the healing takes ages... the progress is really slow. The orthopedic told me that maybe I can even need other 3 months before running.... (in any case, I am restoring my bicycle... after 4 years of total non-usage..)

around 1 year ago, I posted twice on the matter of the orthotics
having serious bow-shaped legs and leg length discrepancy, I have been always recommend
ed to use orthotics, but I honestly hate only the idea...

Now I can summarize my experience with orthotics in the past 2 years:
* January- August 2007: no orthotics, no injuries, but running load was lower (70-90km weekly)
* August 07 - January 08: With Orthotics, no Injuries, load around 100/110Km
* January 08 - March 08: no orthotics, run very well, but got injured of a muscle strain (well, that day I was wearing shoes with orthotics, still...)
* May 08 - December 08: no orthotics, running fast like never before, load around 100/120k. Got a serious bilateral achilles tendinitis

so now... I capitulate.
Both the physioterapist and the orthopedic that I consulted for the tendinitis are also runners and they both told me that only with orthotics I can at least reduce the load on the tendons.

with my bow legs, even if my running style is not bad, the load from the body weight is not transfered to the ground in straight line, but generates a huge lateral force that puts a lot of effort on the achilles.
So the shoe must be fitted with orthotics that could absorb somehow this lateral force.
It all makes sense and I know it very well... my chassis is of very poor quality and not really suited for heavy running.

Out of desperation, I will therefore try to run with orthotics again...
to do that, I also ordered a new pair of custom-made orthotics made in Canada by the company PARIS (the physio told me that is the best available on the Hong Kong market).

Now I got them and I just need to wait for the healing of the achilles to see how they are.

The aspect looks very "sophisticated" compared to those I used before (also custom made, but from a local

so this is it for today...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cadence in Running and Performance

the orthopedic told me yesterday that I may need several more weeks of stop (if not months) before resuming running... pretty depressing perspective...

I come up with another chart: how improving the cadence goes down to a benefit in the "bottom line" (racing performance).

So I charted the average cadence of my workouts since I have the Polar Rs800sd, together with the IAAF performance score of my races (across different distance).
(there are many tools over the web to calculate the IAAF points and compare performances on difference distance, eg HERE)
I had to depurate the IAAF scoring my many races held on hilly course or under scorching heat, otherwise it would be a wrong influence on the correlation.

Back in 2006 I soon realized that my cadence (in the low 80s) was far too low compared to what is considered ideal (high 80s, ideally 90). This is really a big contribution given by the Polar Rs800sd and the S3 sensor.
From then, I always worked to improve my 
stride cadence, trying to be light and quick, rather than stomping the feet on the ground. Jack Daniels mentions something like "running on eggs".

The average cadence has gradually gone up (mid 80s), and it matches closely also the trend of the IAAF score. It is a sure call to say that improving the cadence drives an improvement of performance (especially if you current cadence is far from optimal).