I have always been very active in the outdoors, and often run on a regular basis. However there have only been two periods of time when I upped the demand on my body and did a lot more regular weekly running. The first such time was when I was at University in Ambleside. I started doing early morning training runs. Here is an example of what I used to do. It was nothing too strenuous really, just one or two 1 hour runs a week. After a few weeks this caused knee pain consistently in my patella tendons. Being younger and also occupied with other outdoor activities I stopped running. Such a shame! I lived in the Lake District for 5 years, and never really experienced the joy of running through the mountains.
Then, after a long break (It's now 2010) with only occasional running I started to train at a faster pace
on a weekly basis. The knee pain returned. I was only running about 10 to 20 miles a week. This time there was absolutely no way that I was going to stop running on order to fix the problem, so I started some physio therapy. I also started reading about running, more specifically how to run well.
This all lead me to begin uncovering the links between posture, a natural and relaxed running style and injury free running. Books such as Born to Run and Chi Running have spurred me on to look in to this further. It's early days (I've been mindful of my running form for about 12-18 months now) but I do seem to be able to run greater distances and perform better without old injuries and weaknesses returning. The key achievement of 2012 was the Three Peaks Race, which saw me travel 24 miles over three mountains. I did many 20+ mile training runs in preparation for the race, taking my weekly mileage far beyond anything I had ever done before. In the race itself I kept running well apart from the very steepest inclines where climbing on all fours was required! I sprinted over the finishing line and was able to walk normally the next day! Not bad. I have remained injury free since. This really confirmed for me that the chi running approach is something that has the potential to work well for me. I'm not saying I've got everything sorted. I'm not saying I'll never get injured. I'm not pretending I'm a brilliant, high performing runner. I'm just glad to have found a way forward that helps me run without just 'coping' with my niggly injury problems. Instead I feel I am gradually fixing them and still running in a better way, running further and (actually) running faster too! I do hope some of my ramblings will interest people as I post more on this blog. Please do comment, ask questions and respond.