Last night was BBC session #5. I was a bit sceptical about working out last night - we had a big thunderstorm warning in effect for the city and it was dark and raining as I was driving out to the Memorial Stairs. There were still drops falling when I arrived, but right around 7:00 the sun started to come out. Since things were wet we made use of the stairs and the hill for our workout. We did a circuit with 100 jump ropes, ran down the path to the top of the hill and did 50 jumping jacks, ran down the hill, then ran back up, then ran down the hill again to do 20 step ups on a park bench. After that we ran over to the stairs, ran up a flight and did 25 push ups against the rail, ran up two more flights to do tricep dips on a bench, than ran the rest of the way up the stairs to start again at the jump ropes. We made it through the circuit twice.
On my second go up the hill Instructor S was watching me. She caught up with me part way to point out a few things she noticed about my gait.
Number 1 - when running uphill I swing my legs in a circle, rather than going straight forwards. This didn't surprise me, as I am actually kind of bad for kicking myself in the ankles every once in awhile. The dirt marks on my ankles last night were a total giveaway.
Number 2 - My arms swing from side to side way too much and this is wasting energy (not to mention not helping my gait).
Number 3 - I really flex my toes upwards on the hills, which will stress my shins. I need to keep the feet closer to the ground.
Number 4 - My backside is majorly sticking out. All of these are signs of a weak core and weak hip stabilizers. She has mentioned this to me before, but I really need to work on it. She gave me some exercises to do to help strengthen my hips. For starters, she had me walk up the stairs, facing towards the railing, and making sure that my feet were landing parallel to the edge of the step. When you push off to go up to the next step you work the hip on the side that you are pushing off from. Also, pilates clam shells are key as well. As for the core...well, I'll just have to keep up with trying to fit pilates in on Sundays, and I should probably shoot for more ab work during the week as well. I definitely appreciate having Instructor S point these things out to me, because if I can fix them and avoid an injury - that's terrific!
After working the hills and stairs last night I wasn't sure about hill training today, but Instructor S suggested I give it a shot. Over lunch I was back out to Memorial Stairs to run the hill there up to McHugh Bluff. I got in four repeats and made sure to focus on my form. Whenever I started to feel tired I noticed that my bum had shot out and my arms were starting to swing in front. As soon as I tightened up my core and swung my arms back and forth it was amazing how much easier the hill felt (well, easy being a relative term of course...what hill is easy..??). After the fourth repeat I ran down the stairs, walked back up facing the railing to work on my hips, ran back down, then ran back to the office for a total of 4 miles. Whew....my legs are tired. Tonight they shall get a good stretch at yoga.