The influence of shoe’s heel-to-toe drop on running

The heel-to-toe drop

In the lab, I often have the chance to play around with many different parameters related to running. Shoes certainly incorporate several of these and, especially for non-scientific audience, are reason for great interest. Independently on whether this is a good thing or not, it is no secret that in the past few decades we have been strongly influenced by the media and the shoe companies to wear cushioned shoes with relatively big drop. For the newbies of running, the heel-to-toe drop is the difference between the stack height at the heel and at the ball of the foot. You can read a detailed explanation in this article of mine. The drop can have very different values depending on the shoe (in this other blog post I present a fair amount of values for a quite wide range of models). To get an order of magnitude, values range from zero to fifteen millimetres. However, the most common settings oscillate between 10 and 15 mm, in an interval considered of “high drop”.

SHOES.png

Same subject, different shoes.

The science of shoe’s drop

It is very likely that, if you are reading these lines, you asked yourself at least once whether the drop is an important parameter in a shoe. Honestly, I asked myself the very same question quite often in the past years and luckily had the tools to get some quick answers. In 2013, after analysing a dataset we never published, I found that shoe model did not influence important variables such as the foot strike pattern1. However, the conclusion that the drop was the sole responsible for this lack of correlation was impossible to justify. In order to correctly tackle the question, participants should have worn the same shoes and even if our sample size was pretty big (around 300 participants), we did not design the study for this purpose and my curiosity remained partially unsatisfied.

The years passed by and it was not until recently that I found two interesting works: one by Malisoux and colleagues, from the Luxembourg Institute of health2 and the other by Nigg and colleagues, from the University of Calgary3. Just a few studies4 really focus on the shoe drop and very often one can read about comparison between standard and minimalist shoes5–16 without any proper attention to the drop itself. Malisoux and colleagues, though, did something quite specific. They divided their 59 participants into three groups and assigned to each group shoes with 10, 6 or 0 mm of drop. An inclusion criterion was that they should not have used low drop (< 10 mm) shoes in the past 12 months. Important thing is, that the researchers tried to keep shoes similar, despite the differences in drop. Similar weight (308, 318 and 330 g), comparable rigidity and anonymised features. Moreover, the Luxembourger group proceeded with a follow-up after six months (or 500 km) ran in the very same shoes used for the first measurements. This is what is called a longitudinal study. Nigg, together with his colleagues, opted for a cross-sectional design: they recruited 35 runners, all of them being rearfoot strikers. Then they had each participant running on a treadmill barefoot and wearing three different shoes: a minimalist with drop < 3 mm (weight around 200 g), a conventional cushioned shoe with drop of around 14 mm (weight circa 300 g) and a racing flat (drop of 3 mm, weight of 110 g). Both groups, in both studies, found that the running style was basically unaffected by the changes in the characteristics of shoes.

Take home message

What the group of Malisoux concluded, is that changes of drop in standard cushioned shoes did not produce any significant biomechanical differences. Not even after a 6-month adaptation. Flight time, stride frequency, stride length, foot angle at contact…nothing. Just a tiny little difference in the knee abduction angle during the midstance. In a similar fashion, Nigg and his colleagues found that the vast majority of runners did not see changes in their preferred movement path when changing shoes.

Could it be that we are all overestimating the importance of the drop in running shoes? Contemporary science suggests we might.

 

References

  1. Santuz, A., Ekizos, A. & Arampatzis, A. A Pressure Plate-Based Method for the Automatic Assessment of Foot Strike Patterns During Running. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 44, 1646–1655 (2016).
  2. Malisoux, L., Gette, P., Chambon, N., Urhausen, A. & Theisen, D. Adaptation of running pattern to the drop of standard cushioned shoes: a randomised controlled trial with a 6-month follow-up. J. Sci. Med. Sport 1–6 (2017).
  3. Nigg, B. M. et al. The Preferred Movement Path Paradigm. Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc. 49, 1641–1648 (2017).
  4. Chambon, N., Delattre, N., Guéguen, N., Berton, E. & Rao, G. Shoe drop has opposite influence on running pattern when running overground or on a treadmill. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. (2014).
  5. Firminger, C. R. & Edwards, W. B. The influence of minimalist footwear and stride length reduction on lower-extremity running mechanics and cumulative loading. J. Sci. Med. Sport (2015).
  6. Fredericks, W. et al. Lower Extremity Biomechanical Relationships with Different Speeds in Traditional, Minimalist, and Barefoot Footwear. J. Sport. Sci. Med. 14, 276–283 (2015).
  7. Bergstra, S. A. et al. Running with a minimalist shoe increases plantar pressure in the forefoot region of healthy female runners. J. Sci. Med. Sport 18, 463–468 (2015).
  8. Willson, J. D. et al. Short-Term Changes in Running Mechanics and Foot Strike Pattern After Introduction to Minimalistic Footwear. PM&R 6, 34–43 (2014).
  9. Gillinov, S. M., Laux, S., Kuivila, T., Hass, D. & Joy, S. M. Effect of Minimalist Footwear on Running Efficiency: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Sports Health 7, 256–60 (2015).
  10. Squadrone, R., Rodano, R., Hamill, J. & Preatoni, E. Acute effect of different minimalist shoes on foot strike pattern and kinematics in rearfoot strikers during running. J. Sports Sci. 33, 1196–204 (2015).
  11. Willy, R. W. & Davis, I. S. Kinematic and kinetic comparison of running in standard and minimalist shoes. Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc. 46, 318–323 (2014).
  12. Mann, R. et al. The effect of shoe type and fatigue on strike index and spatiotemporal parameters of running. Gait Posture 42, 91–95 (2015).
  13. Cheung, R. T. H. & Ngai, S. P. Effects of footwear on running economy in distance runners: A meta-analytical review. J. Sci. Med. Sport (2015).
  14. Sinclair, J. Effects of barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear on knee and ankle loading during running. Clin. Biomech. 29, 395–399 (2014).
  15. Rice, H. M., Jamison, S. T. & Davis, I. S. Footwear Matters: Influence of Footwear and Foot Strike on Loadrates During Running. Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc. 44, 1 (2016).
  16. Miller, E. E., Whitcome, K. K., Lieberman, D. E., Norton, H. L. & Dyer, R. E. The effect of minimal shoes on arch structure and intrinsic foot muscle strength. J. Sport Heal. Sci. 3, 74–85 (2014).

Evolution of barefoot running

We can run longer than other animals

Among mammals, humans show exceptional distance running speeds. However, the amount of oxygen we need for running is insanely higher than in other mammals and running birds1,2. To bypass this paradox, we developed outstanding heat dissipation capabilities, long Achilles tendons, big glutei, short toes and a myriad of evolutionistic precautions to better hunt down other animals in the open1–3. Even though sporadic doubts aroused about the role of persistence hunting and scavenging in the evolution of human endurance running4, it is often suggested that we started running around 2 million years ago2. Ça va sans dire, it is not very likely that we were wearing cushioned shoes at the time.

What if we ran without shoes?

The advent of modern running shoes would last an eye blink (around 200 milliseconds) if we shrank 2 million years in 24 hours. So it makes sense assuming that people, nowadays, would run in a similar pattern as their ancestors’ if asked to run barefoot5. When measuring runners of various experience levels, it is pretty clear that around 90% of people land on their heel while wearing shoes, whereas only around 50% of them would keep the same pattern after taking their shoes off6. While running barefoot, people tend to land on the ball of the foot, possibly due to the discomfort of striking the ground with the bare heel7. This is an indirect proof of how early humans ran.

What are foot strike patterns?

As you might already know from direct experience, your foot can strike the ground in several ways while running. Usually, we distinguish three main patterns, depending on which part of the foot touches the ground first. Here you can see a slow-motion video we took during one of our studies6 on foot strike patterns:

If you divide the foot into three equal parts, the first third would identify the rearfoot, the second the midfoot and the third the forefoot. For simplicity, I will abbreviate the rearfoot strike as RS and mid- and forefoot strike as MFS, joining the two into a unique pattern.

figure1.png

Rearfoot strike (A and B), forefoot strike (C and D) and midfoot strike (E and F). © Santuz et al.Ann. Biomed. Eng. 44 (2016).

Why do foot strike patterns matter?

Foot strike patterns matter because one does not simply change pattern by tuning the ankle angle at strike. On the contrary, foot strike patterns are the effect of many different variables’ adjustments, rather than the cause. In RS, the foot is more dorsiflexed than in MFS, while the knee is less flexed5, thus leading to the typical “seated” running form of RS runners. Moreover, in RS the knee is more compliant and the ankle is stiffer than in MFS8 and the collision impact, measured as loading rate, is higher than in MFS9. However, the ankle loading increases considerably when switching from RS to MFS10. Further, let us not forget that foot strike patterns, especially MFS, are a dynamical parameter, since they are strongly molded by fatigue11.

Do we actually need to run barefoot?

It depends on what we want to achieve. Given the stunning amount of kinematic, kinetic and neurophysiological differences between foot strike patterns, taking our shoes off would add another degree of complexity to the new condition. Despite an evidence for leg and foot muscle growth after barefoot running training12, the foot’s intrinsic muscle activity is higher when running in shoes13. This fact would point towards an unexpected increase in the neuromuscular output due to the presence of running shoes, meaning that the foot would not actually behave lazier, but would be simply activated differently. A less diplomatic but realistic answer could be, paraphrasing Prof. Jo Hamill: “what is the kind of injury you want to be exposed to?”8,14,15.

Can we train to run barefoot?

Yes. With care, patience and perseverance. If muscles adapt quickly (let us say weeks as order of magnitude), tendons require longer periods (e.g. months). What most people do not know, is that bones can adapt as well, but the adaptation might require much more time than what tendons need.

Barefoot or minimalist running?

Despite the lack of a formal consensus on what a minimalist shoe actually is, there is evidence that minimalist footwear with low heel stack heights (e.g. 13 mm or lower) can accurately reproduce barefoot running in terms of kinematic and kinetic changes16. On the market, there are several minimalist footwear options. Just to give a few examples, Vivo Barefoot produces shoes in the most conventional way. Vibram thought to put fingers into normal shoes. LUNA Sandals had the idea, taken from the Tarahumara people, of eliminating any lining and upper and build a very simple sandal. Many other options are available and the market is undoubtedly rising16, thanks as well to social phenomena like the book “Born to run” by Christopher McDougall.

What is the heel-to-toe-drop?

In a shoe, the heel-to-toe drop, also called heel-drop, is nothing but the difference between the heel and the fore foot stack height. Please note that a drop of 0 mm does not imply low cushioning! A typical example is this: drop 0 mm and very low cushioning is your bare foot; drop 0 mm and a lot of cushioning is a shoe like the Altra Paradigm or the Altra Olympus. A detailed description on how to measure the heel drop can be found here.

Final considerations on barefoot running

Do it, do not overdo it. As a longtime track & field athlete, I strongly believe that we must keep busy with trying new things in order to maintain the motivation high. Barefoot or minimalist locomotion is an amazing way to better understand our own body and if done carefully and patiently, can bring more satisfaction than you can think of!

 References

  1. Carrier, D. R. The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution. Curr. Anthropol. 25, 483 (1984).
  2. Bramble, D. M. & Lieberman, D. E. Endurance running and the evolution of Homo. Nature 432, 345–52 (2004).
  3. Lieberman, D. E., Bramble, D. M., Raichlen, D. A. & Shea, J. J. in Contributions from the Third Stony Brook Human Evolution Symposium and Workshop 77–92 (2009). doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9980-9_8
  4. Pickering, T. R. & Bunn, H. T. The endurance running hypothesis and hunting and scavenging in savanna-woodlands. J. Hum. Evol. 53, 434–438 (2007).
  5. Lieberman, D. E. et al. Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. Nature 463, 531–5 (2010).
  6. Santuz, A., Ekizos, A. & Arampatzis, A. A Pressure Plate-Based Method for the Automatic Assessment of Foot Strike Patterns During Running. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 44, 1646–1655 (2016).
  7. Santuz, A., Ekizos, A., Janshen, L., Baltzopoulos, V. & Arampatzis, A. The Influence of Footwear on the Modular Organization of Running. Front. Physiol. 8, 958 (2017).
  8. Hamill, J., Gruber, A. H. & Derrick, T. R. Lower extremity joint stiffness characteristics during running with different footfall patterns. Eur. J. Sport Sci. 14, 130–136 (2014).
  9. Boyer, E. R., Rooney, B. D. & Derrick, T. R. Rearfoot and midfoot or forefoot impacts in habitually shod runners. Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc. 46, 1384–91 (2014).
  10. Rooney, B. D. & Derrick, T. R. Joint contact loading in forefoot and rearfoot strike patterns during running. J. Biomech. 46, 2201–2206 (2013).
  11. Jewell, C., Boyer, K. A. & Hamill, J. Do footfall patterns in forefoot runners change over an exhaustive run? J. Sports Sci. 1–7 (2016). doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1156726
  12. Chen, T. L. W., Sze, L. K. Y., Davis, I. S. & Cheung, R. T. H. Effects of training in minimalist shoes on the intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscle volume. Clin. Biomech. 36, 8–13 (2016).
  13. Kelly, L. A., Lichtwark, G. A., Farris, D. J. & Cresswell, A. Shoes alter the spring-like function of the human foot during running. J. R. Soc. Interface 13, 20160174 (2016).
  14. Perkins, K. P., Hanney, W. J. & Rothschild, C. E. The Risks and Benefits of Running Barefoot or in Minimalist Shoes. Sports Health 6, 475–480 (2014).
  15. Murphy, K., Curry, E. J. & Matzkin, E. G. Barefoot running: Does it prevent injuries? Sport. Med. 43, 1131–1138 (2013).
  16. Squadrone, R., Rodano, R., Hamill, J. & Preatoni, E. Acute effect of different minimalist shoes on foot strike pattern and kinematics in rearfoot strikers during running. J. Sports Sci. 33, 1196–204 (2015).

November 2015 – Training recap

It is finally XC season! The first colds, the first snow and, as usual, the first cross-country races. November started with the long-waited Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs, where I managed to get a 7th place in the long-distance (2nd in the age-group 30-35). Then a very intense measurements plan lead me to Kassel for one week, where I could enjoy a couple of track sessions in the beautiful main stadium. After the commitments related to the university, the “classical” marathon relay (now renamed to Airfield Run) allowed to run a pretty quick 5k for the Leidig24 Triathlon Team. Even if I faced a strong headwind for around 2 km, I still managed to run a 16’45” that, given the part of the season and the weather conditions, left me with quite a good feeling. Next, just a couple of days ago and always with the same team, I ran for the first time the Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay. A beautiful event indeed, with the interesting format of 4×6 km in the woods. Also, we won and that made the whole thing even sweeter!

A lot of handshakes before the start (Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs).
Crowded start at the Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs.
Enjoying a hot tea right after the victorious Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay.
Holger Leidig (full left) and part of the Leidig24 team, right after the Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past November:

Su 01-11-15 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 3 x uphill reps circuit (downhill jog rest), CD.
Mo 02-11-15 Easy 35′, legs and core strength.
Tu 03-11-15 Off.
We 04-11-15 Slow 20′. Easy 15′, 2 strides, 4×500 m @ 3k race pace (200 m jog rest), CD.
Th 05-11-15 Slow 30′.
Fr 06-11-15 Off.
Sa 07-11-15 RACE: 9.6 km (BBM Cross – Luckenwalde).
Su 08-11-15 Slow 45′.
Mo 09-11-15 Measurements @ Kassel Uni.
Tu 10-11-15 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 1×600 m (1’41”), 3′ walk rest, 3×300 m (54″-49″-47″, 100 m jog rest), 5′ walk rest, easy 4×200 m, CD.
We 11-11-15 Off.
Th 12-11-15 Easy 30′, 2 strides, 1×800 m (fast straights, medium corners), 3′ walk rest, 3×200 m (200 m jog rest), CD.
Fr 13-11-15 Off.
Sa 14-11-15 45′ with some XC.
Su 15-11-15 Arms, legs and core strength. Easy 40′.
Mo 16-11-15 40′ with some fartlek.
Tu 17-11-15 40′ ice speed skating.
We 18-11-15 Easy 40′ with some XC sections.
Th 19-11-15 Easy 20′ with some strides.
Fr 20-11-15 Off.
Sa 21-11-15 35′ jog, Adidas RUNBASE Berlin pre-opening, arms, legs and core strength.
Su 22-11-15 RACE: 5 km (TÜV Rheinland Airfield Run – Berlin).
Mo 23-11-15 40′ ice speed skating.
Tu 24-11-15 Easy 55′.
We 25-11-15 Easy 15′, 2 strides, 1×600 m, 200 m jog rest, 1×300 m, 3′ walk rest, 4×200 m on grass (200 m jog rest), 15′.
Th 26-11-15 Easy 20′.
Fr 27-11-15 Easy 55′.
Sa 28-11-15 Easy 30′.
Su 29-11-15 RACE: 6.2 km (32. Berliner Ruder-Club Cross-Staffellauf – Berlin). Arms and core strength.
Mo 30-11-15 Slow 30′.

October 2015 – Training recap

October is usually an easy month for running. Not for my PhD though. The annual Autumn School we organise and a recent publication of ours on foot strike patterns really filled every free spot in my schedule. A little cold around half month took me down for around 10 days, but was nothing serious fortunately. In preparation for another full month, I did only a few kilometres and started to get into the XC mood!

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.
Here the diary entries for the past October:

Th 01/10/2015 Off.
Fr 02/10/2015 Measurements @ HU Berlin, easy 30′.
Sa 03/10/2015 RACE: 11.9 km XC (Sägerserie 2015 – 1. Lauf).
Su 04/10/2015 Slow 30′. 40′ aggressive inline (skate park).
Mo 05/10/2015 Easy 35′.
Tu 06/10/2015 Off.
We 07/10/2015 Off.
Th 08/10/2015 Off.
Fr 09/10/2015 Off.
Sa 10/10/2015 Slow 30′.
Su 11/10/2015 Off.
Mo 12/10/2015 Easy 50′ with some hills. 30′ ice skating.
Tu 13/10/2015 15′, 15′ fartlek, 15′.
We 14/10/2015 Slow 40′.
Th 15/10/2015 Ill. Core strength.
Fr 16/10/2015 Off. Ill.
Sa 17/10/2015 40′ XC roller ski.
Su 18/10/2015 Slow 25′, arms, legs and core strength.
Mo 19/10/2015 Easy 45′.
Tu 20/10/2015 Easy 40′.
We 21/10/2015 45′ with some XC.
Th 22/10/2015 Slow 30′.
Fr 23/10/2015 Off.
Sa 24/10/2015 40′ ice speed skating. 10′, running drills, 2 strides, 5×200 m (200 m jog rest), CD. Arms, legs and core strength.
Su 25/10/2015 Legs and core strength. Easy 55′.
Mo 26/10/2015 Easy 30′.
Tu 27/10/2015 Core strength.
We 28/10/2015 45′ XC.
Th 29/10/2015 15′, 15′ fartlek, 15′.
Fr 30/10/2015 Off.

Sa 31/10/2015 Easy 60′.

Do you know how you run? A study on foot strike patterns.

In the past three years, for my PhD, I had the chance to evaluate the running technique of around 250 people. I dealt with a wide spectrum of experience levels an running styles. The most common feedback I received, though, is that people don’t know how they run. Even semi-pros.
An article about foot strike patterns, of which I am the first author, was published two days ago on the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. This study was mainly aimed to validate an automatic foot strike patterns assessment method. But what is the foot strike pattern (FSP)? Nothing more than the way our feet come in contact with the ground. If you simply divide the foot into three equal parts, you can call them fore- mid- and rearfoot (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 Foot division and nomenclature.
By looking at which of the three parts comes first in contact with the ground, one can determine the FSP and classify it as forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot strike (FS, MS and RS, respectively). It would be possible to use a videocamera to analyze this kind of events, but we went a step further by using a pressure plate integrated in a treadmill. With an algorithm we developed, we are now able to recognise the FSP automatically, without the need of looking at the data. In Figure 2 you can see what happens on the pressure plate at impact and the relative video frame captured by a slow motion camera.
Figure 2 Video and pressure plate data for different FSPs.
Funny thing is that, if you ask the people how they think they run, very often they cannot predict their FSP. Interestingly enough, though, it is very likely that they will show a RS pattern while running shod. Across the 145 people measured (85 male, 60 female) almost 9 every 10 were striking with the heel first when wearing shoes. On the contrary, only 5 out of 10 were keeping this kind of pattern when running barefoot (see Figure 3). Apparently, the fear of getting hurt prevails on the well-established coordination patterns.

Figure 3 FSP distribution across two running conditions at preferred speed.
The reasons why people choose one or the other FSP are far from being completely understood. And this is what makes my job awesome.

The full text of the afore-mentioned article is available here.

September 2015 – Training recap

With September the preparation for the winter season continued in the name of volume with just a bit of quality. I kept on running some 10k race pace and started retrieving a bit of speed.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past September:

Tu 01/09/2015 Off.
We 02/09/2015 Easy 40′.
Th 03/09/2015 Easy 45′ with some intervals (15’+10×30″+15′).
Fr 04/09/2015 105′ sailing (Uni-Jolle, Friday Regatta).
Sa 05/09/2015 Legs and core strength. Off.
Su 06/09/2015 Arms, legs and core strength. Easy 60′, 5×100 m strides (100 m jog rest).
Mo 07/09/2015 Easy 40′.
Tu 08/09/2015 Easy 15′, 4 km tempo run (10 km race pace), easy 15′.
We 09/09/2015 15′, 2 strides on grass, 8×60 m sprints on grass (60 m jog rest), CD.
Th 10/09/2015 Arms, legs and core strength.
Fr 11/09/2015 Easy 60′.
Sa 12/09/2015 Slow 40′. 90′ sailing (Laser Bahia).
Su 13/09/2015 55′ slow inline skating.
Mo 14/09/2015 Hilly 20′. 25′ progression.
Tu 15/09/2015 Easy 45′.
We 16/09/2015 20′, 2 strides, 5×200 m uphill reps, CD.
Th 17/09/2015 20′, 2 strides on grass, 2x(200, 300 m on grass, 100, 200 m jog rest), 5×60 m sprints, CD.
Fr 18/09/2015 Slow 40′, arms legs and core strength.
Sa 19/09/2015 45′ aggressive inline (skate park).
Su 20/09/2015 Easy 60′.
Mo 21/09/2015 Easy 30′, 10×100 m uphill sprints (100 m downhill jog rest), CD.
Tu 22/09/2015 Slow 40′.
We 23/09/2015 60′ MTB.
Th 24/09/2015 Easy 45′.
Fr 25/09/2015 Arms, legs and core strength. Easy 45′.
Sa 26/09/2015 Slow 20′, 2 strides, 4×300 m strides (150 m jog rest), slow 15′. 60′ aggressive inline (skate park).
Su 27/09/2015 Slow 25′, 1×1000 m, short CD, 90′ MTB. Easy 30′.
Mo 28/09/2015 20′, 4 strides, 2×4 laps relay (8×250 m, 100 m jog rest), CD.
Tu 29/09/2015 Off.
We 30/09/2015 Easy 40′ with some speed.

August 2015 – Training recap

After some wonderful weeks spent at congresses and on holiday, it’s again time to think about the winter season. August has been quite relaxed even if the mileage increased considerably. When possible, I tried to jump on a bike or start back sailing, in order to cross train a bit. Some days in Italy allowed me to enjoy some beautiful hill and mountain sessions. Just one race during this month: a 5×4.2195 m relay I used to test my 10k race pace.

The relay team after the 4. BARMER GEK Halbmarathon-Staffel 2015. © LEIDIG24 Triathlon Team.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past August:

Sa 01/08/2015 Easy, hilly, 35′.
Su 02/08/2015 65′ technical trail.
Mo 03/08/2015 Easy, hilly 25′, slow 15′, running drills, 4 strides on grass.
Tu 04/08/2015 Arms and core strength.
We 05/08/2015 Easy 20′. Easy, hilly 20′, hurdles and running drills, 2 laps on grass (long side fast, short side slow), 1+2 laps progression on grass, 4 strides on grass.
Th 06/08/2015 Core strength.
Fr 07/08/2015 120′ MTB.
Sa 08/08/2015 Off. Trip.
Su 09/08/2015 Easy 50′. 40 km road bike.
Mo 10/08/2015 Slow 30′.
Tu 11/08/2015 Easy 20′, running drills, 2 strides, 5×200 m (200 m jog rest), CD. Off.
We 12/08/2015 50′.
Th 13/08/2015 Arms and core strength.
Fr 14/08/2015 50′. 30′ jog.
Sa 15/08/2015 Easy 30′.
Su 16/08/2015 Easy 35′, 2 strides, 1×200 m uphill (200 m jog rest), 3×950 m XC laps (float uphills, easy downhills), CD.
Mo 17/08/2015 40′ with some progression.
Tu 18/08/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides on grass, 6×300 m on grass (200 m jog rest), CD.
We 19/08/2015 Slow 40′.
Th 20/08/2015 Easy 15′, float 8′, slow 15′.
Fr 21/08/2015 Easy 30′.
Sa 22/08/2015 15′, hilly 10′ (float uphills), 10′. Easy 25′.
Su 23/08/2015 Easy 30′.
Mo 24/08/2015 60′.
Tu 25/08/2015 Slow 15′, 5×100 m strides on grass (100 m jog rest), slow 15′.
We 26/08/2015 RACE: 4.2 km (4. BARMER GEK Halbmarathon-Staffel).
Th 27/08/2015 45′.
Fr 28/08/2015 Easy 45′ with some fartlek (15’+15′ fartlek+15′).
Sa 29/08/2015 Arms, legs and core strength. 25′.
Su 30/08/2015 140′ sailing (Laser Bahia). 25′.
Mo 31/08/2015 Off.

July 2015 – Training recap

Holidays time! July has been quite easy. “Only” a tough, hilly race: the terrible Nordberliner Zugspitzlauf, a wonderful mix of up- and downhills in a lovely park (GPS here and a couple of pictures below). I managed to lower again my PB (49:10 in 2013, 46:00 in 2014 and 44:55 in 2015) and to receive back a solid hill session. After that it has been all about congresses (International Society of Biomechanics in Glasgow) and holidays. In August I’ll start again with some mileage and very few sessions on the track.
Pushing but smiling! © 2014 Teamwork Sport + Events e.V.

Quite happy that the uphill is over. © 2014 Teamwork Sport + Events e.V.

Fighting hard downhill for the 6th place. © 2014 Teamwork Sport + Events e.V.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past July:

We 01/07/2015 Slow 30′.
Th 02/07/2015 Easy 15′, 20′ jog, 35′ XC, CD.
Fr 03/07/2015 Arms, legs and core strength.
Sa 04/07/2015 Easy 10′, 10′ XC, CD. Easy, hilly, 25′. Core strength.
Su 05/07/2015 30′ XC.
Mo 06/07/2015 Easy 30′ with some progression, CD.
Tu 07/07/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 8×100 m steep trail uphill reps (downhill jog rest), CD.
We 08/07/2015 Off. Trip.
Th 09/07/2015 Off.
Fr 10/07/2015 RACE: 12 km (Nordberliner Zugspitzlauf – Berlin).
Sa 11/07/2015 Easy 40′ with 1×800 m float.
Su 12/07/2015 Easy 20′. 15′.
Mo 13/07/2015 Easy, hilly, 55′.
Tu 14/07/2015 Easy, hilly, 20′.
We 15/07/2015 Off.
Th 16/07/2015 Slow 35′.
Fr 17/07/2015 Off.
Sa 18/07/2015 Hilly 35′ with some XC sections. Hiking in Unst, Shetland.
Su 19/07/2015 Hilly 60′. Hiking in Unst, Shetland.
Mo 20/07/2015 Hiking in Fetlar, Shetland. Hiking in Fetlar, Shetland.
Tu 21/07/2015 Hiking in Whalshay, Shetland. Hiking in Whalshay, Shetland.
We 22/07/2015 Hiking in Walls, Shetland. Hiking in Walls, Shetland.
Th 23/07/2015 Hiking in Sumburgh, Shetland.
Fr 24/07/2015 Hiking in Sumburgh, Shetland. Hiking in Sumburgh, Shetland.
Sa 25/07/2015 Hiking in Sumburgh, Shetland.
Su 26/07/2015 Off. Trip.
Mo 27/07/2015 Off. Trip.
Tu 28/07/2015 Easy 50′.
We 29/07/2015 Easy 45′.
Th 30/07/2015 Easy 25′, 2 strides, 3×200 m uphill strides, CD.
Fr 31/07/2015 Off. Trip.

June 2015 – Training recap

Finally I did it! The amazing Sparkassen Gala meeting gifted me with my first sub-10, 9:58.22 to be accurate. Given the high level of the field I had to run most of the race alone (finishing last, even if a slower competitor dropped out). But the crazy support of the LG Nord Berlin team, and particularly of the chairman Klaus Brill, injected me with a fair amount of motivation. Keeping the pace appeared incredibly easy and I have been confident almost all the race that I could do it. The splits revealed a solid sequence with 3:15/3:22/3:21, with a quite relaxed second km.
Perspectives now clearly changed. Translating a difficult target into reality gives you the chance of looking at things differently. Now I’ll slow down a bit, aiming to increase the mileage from the second half of August focusing on preparing some longer stuff before the exciting winter season.
A crowded start in Regensburg.

Towards PB…and beyond!

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past June:

Mo 01/06/2015 25′ progression, 4×100 m strides (100 m jog rest).

Tu 02/06/2015 Easy 30′.
We 03/06/2015 Off.
Th 04/06/2015 Slow 25′ with some hurdles and strides, stretching.
Fr 05/06/2015 RACE: 3000 m SC (Sparkassen Gala Laufnacht – Regensburg).
Sa 06/06/2015 Off.
Su 07/06/2015 Arms and core strength. 50′ with 30′ XC.
Mo 08/06/2015 Easy 50′ with some progression.
Tu 09/06/2015 Off.
We 10/06/2015 15′, 3x(30-60-90-60″, same time jog rest), CD.
Th 11/06/2015 Slow 40′.
Fr 12/06/2015 Easy 30′.
Sa 13/06/2015 170′ sailing (Flying Cruiser).
Su 14/06/2015 110′ sailing (Laser Bahia).
Mo 15/06/2015 Easy 50′.
Tu 16/06/2015 Easy 25′, 2 strides on grass, 2×150 m strides, 1×1000 m in 2’58”, 4′ walk rest, 1×2000 m in 6’27”, 4′ walk rest, 3×400 m in 70″ (200 m jog rest), CD.
We 17/06/2015 Slow 30′, legs, arms and core strength.
Th 18/06/2015 Easy 40′.
Fr 19/06/2015 Slow 20′ with some random strides.
Sa 20/06/2015 RACE: 5000 m (NDM Göttingen).
Su 21/06/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 5×200 m uphill strides (downhill jog rest), CD. 50′ jog.
Mo 22/06/2015 Slow 30′.
Tu 23/06/2015 30′ progression, 5×100 m strides (100 m jog rest), CD.
We 24/06/2015 RACE: 5 km road (16. Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Staffel, Day 1).
Th 25/06/2015 RACE: 5 km road (16. Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Staffel, Day 2).
Fr 26/06/2015 Off.
Sa 27/06/2015 60′ easy MTB.
Su 28/06/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides on grass, 3×300 m (48″3-46″6-45″3, 100 m jog rest), easy 3×200 m (200 m jog rest), CD. Easy 40′.
Mo 29/06/2015 50′.
Tu 30/06/2015 Easy 25′, 3 diagonal strides on grass, 1×400 m (57″8), 6′ walk rest, 300-200-100 m (43″5-31″0-13″8, 200 m jog rest), 6′ walk rest, 6 diagonal stride on grass, CD.

May 2015 – Training recap

Well, it seems that the hard work starts paying off! After a couple of races without any particular target (a 3000 m SC, a 3000 m flat and a 1500 m), I traveled to Zeven with a high dose of motivation. The 34th Pfingstsportfest was promising a very variegated field, potentially giving a lot of athletes the opportunity to find their pace. I planned 3:20/3:25/all-out for the three km splits in order to attack the 10-minutes wall. I ran 3:18/3:26/3:20, finishing in 10:04.82 (PB of over 10 seconds). Now I can’t wait to write a “nine” in front of my PB!

The beautiful track in Zeven during the 34th Pfingstsportfest 2015.
Results of the 3000 m SC race.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.

Here the diary entries for the past May:

Fr 01/05/2015 65′ sailing. Easy 20′ with random hurdles.
Sa 02/05/2015 80′ sailing. 90′ sailing.
Su 03/05/2015 110′ sailing. 90′ sailing.
Mo 04/05/2015 Legs and core strength.
Tu 05/05/2015 Easy 25′, running drills, 2 strides on grass, easy 2×150 m, 2×1000 m with 5 hurdles/lap (3’22”-3’25”, 200 m jog rest), 6′ walk rest, 2×400 m with 5 hurdles (73″-76″, 200 m jog rest), 6′ walk rest, 2×200 m with 4 hurdles (34″-35″, 200 m jog rest), 4 diagonal strides on grass, CD.
We 06/05/2015 Easy 30′.
Th 07/05/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 5×300 m on grass (100 m jog rest), 5×100 m strides (100 m jog rest), CD.
Fr 08/05/2015 Slow 30′.
Sa 09/05/2015 RACE: 3000 m SC (open Kreismeisterschaften – Hildesheim).
Su 10/05/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 3×300 m with 16 hurdles each (100 m jog rest), CD.
Mo 11/05/2015 25′ progression, running drills, 2 strides on grass, 2×150 m strides, 1×400 m (57″5), 8′ walk rest, 3×300 m (50″5-48″9-46″6, 100 m jog rest), 4-10-6 hurdles on grass (4 hurdles/lap, 1/2 lap jog rest), 4 diagonal strides on grass, CD.
Tu 12/05/2015 Easy 40′.
We 13/05/2015 Slow 30′.
Th 14/05/2015 RACE: 3000 m (8. Berliner Läufermeeting – Krumme-Strecken). 100′ sailing.
Fr 15/05/2015 Easy 30′.
Sa 16/05/2015 RACE: 1500 m (3. Spandauer Läuferpokal in Berlin). 95′ sailing.
Su 17/05/2015 95′ sailing.
Mo 18/05/2015 Core, legs and arms strength. Easy 40′.
Tu 19/05/2015 Easy 20′, running drills, 2 strides on grass, 2×150 m strides, 1×600 m (1’32″9), 8′ walk rest, 3×300 m (48″1-46″8-46″5, 100 m jog rest), 8′ walk rest, 2+2+1 laps on grass with 4 hurdles/lap, CD.
We 20/05/2015 Slow 30′.
Th 21/05/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides on grass, 5×200 m on grass (200 m jog rest), slow 15′.
Fr 22/05/2015 Off.
Sa 23/05/2015 Slow 30′ with 3×300 m (16 hurdles each, 100 m jog rest).
Su 24/05/2015 RACE: 3000 m SC (34. Pfingstsportfest der LAV Zeven and NDM Hindernis – Zeven).
Mo 25/05/2015 115′ sailing.
Tu 26/05/2015 Off.
We 27/05/2015 Arms and core strength. 25′ (20′ progression + easy 5′), 2 strides on grass, 2×150 m strides, 1×400 m (57″3), 6′ walk rest, 6×200 m with 5 hurdles (200 m jog rest), 6 diagonal stride on grass, CD.
Th 28/05/2015 Easy 40′ with some progression.
Fr 29/05/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 4×150 m uphill reps (downhill jog rest), 3′ walk rest, 3×150 m strides, CD. 125′ sailing.
Sa 30/05/2015 Easy 20′, 2 strides, 6×200 m with 11 hurdles each (200 m jog rest), CD.
Su 31/05/2015 Arms and core strength. Long (63′).