Last year I wrote (in this blog) about my experience running my first marathon. It was the Detroit Free Press Marathon run on October 19 , 2014. My time for a first marathon at age 52 made me proud but the the way I felt after the race and for weeks after had much to be desired. As I wrote last year, after about mile 13 I started developing hip pain which moved down my leg making forward movement very painful.
I resolved to find the cause of my injury and work to prevent its reoccurrence. The first idea that crossed my mind had to do with the strategy I used during the first 5 miles of the race. I started the race in a corral that was slower than I planned to run the race so I used the early part of the course to move in front of other runners. Especially on the bridge I surged forward and often dodged side to side to get ahead of slower runners. I believe that this was a strategic error as it put unnecessary stress on my hip and thus my entire right leg.
The other possible cause was a muscular deficiency that I self diagnosed. After looking at pictures of myself during other races, I noticed that my right knee and foot were rotated outward. I isolated what I thought was a muscular compensation caused by HIRD - Hip Inward Rotation Deficiency. I decided to include fixing this problem as an added part of my regular strength and flexibility program.
The results are in....
On October 18 I ran the same marathon. My running strategy was simple - to run steadily and consistently for the entire course. Run a straight line whenever possible avoiding any side-to-side movement. Concentrate on good form and be confident that your training efforts will pay off. In terms of race time I shaved 14 minutes off of last year's time and 4 minutes faster that my goal for this race. Although I did feel like I had run 26.2 miles at an average pace of 8:27/mile, I finished strong and with just minor discomfort. My post race recovery was short lasting about 3 days.
The take away from this story is threefold. First, think about how your race unfolded, what the results were and how you felt afterwards. Second, develop your next training cycle to address specific findings based on your analysis. Lastly, allow your confidence to build and carry you through your next race. If all this is too much for you, hire a run coach who has the expertise and first hand experience to help you and make your dreams come true.