Friday, December 02, 2011

The 100 Up experiment

I can’t believe today marks 3 weeks into the 100 Up experiment. And it is pretty amazing how many people are doing it. On the Facebook group alone, there are well over 300 people.


There are two types of 100 Ups, the “minors” and the “majors”. The minors are basically walking and the majors running (in both cases “in place”). I have been doing both on most days because they are very different. The minors are slower and more controlled. It is easier to concentrate on my form. They are also less effort, so when I am feeling lazy and “don’t wanna”, I just tell myself to do the minors and that gets me going. But when I do the minors, they are still very “jerky”—there’s some way that my foot lands on the ground and the next one comes up which is not smooth. But I have definitely improved over the course of the weeks. At first, my right foot was coming down consistently behind my left foot and they are now even. I’ve also felt “smooth” a couple of times—a glance into what is possible.


I find the majors overall easier, though. And quicker! I’m lighter on my feet and somehow more fluid. Again, there have been some changes as the weeks have gone along. As I discovered through running barefoot, for me all the action is in my hips. For proper form, I need to focus on tilting the top of my pelvis forward. (To me, this feels like I’m sticking my butt out, but when I look in the mirror, I’m actually barely straight. . .) This action has my feet come down under my center of gravity and helps to keep my feet from “scraping” the ground. This has changed and been reinforced by doing the 100 Up majors. When I started out, I was just basically lifting my knees high. But this tilted my pelvis under and rounded my lower back and had my feet land in front of my body. One day, I experimented with keeping my arms down by my sides (because I had read that the guy who “invented” the 100 Up said that is how you should do them) and suddenly, I had to change my pelvis or I would fall backwards.


Have I seen any benefits?


I’m not sure, but I’m holding off assessment at least until the 30 days are up. I had hoped that my barefoot running form would improve, allowing me to run longer and faster. I did really hope that they would help me go faster. Though I cannot say that I’ve seen any difference on that front. Ever since running with the heart rate monitor, barefoot and breathing through my nose, I don’t think I’ve improved at all. I just looked at a graph of my runs for the last 3 months since I started this and maybe I have improved my average pace from about 11:30 min/mi to 11:00 min/mi but, hmm, I am really hoping my “easy” pace could be more like 10:00 min/mi. And I thought 10-12 weeks would show more improvement. But my consistency has not been great the last few weeks. I strained my Achilles tendon (my calf got so tight it was pulling on the Achilles tendon) and then I had some kind of tendonitis on the top of my other foot. So maybe I just need to be more patient? Not my strong suit.

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