Since the middle of June when I qualified for Kona at Eagleman 70.3, I knew I had a challenge ahead of me in that I was going to be competing in two Ironman races over the span of five weeks.
My two biggest concerns were 1) recovery from Kona and 2) putting together the right dose of training so that I didn't overdo it heading into Arizona.
For the purpose of simplicity, I'm going to focus on the theme of recovery for this post and how the length of recovery can be linked to your form and efficiency of running. For any of you that have run a marathon, you know how trashed your body and legs can be for the several days following the race. Try swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles prior to running that marathon and the fatigue and muscle damage is compounded even more.
Having tweaked a couple of things with my form and switched to running exclusively with Newton shoes over the past couple of years, the fatigue and recovery time from my hard and long efforts has been greatly reduced in addition to being free from injury.
What's the secret, you ask? Simply enough, it all comes down to cadence. I will say that there isn't going to be a singular magic number for everyone out there due to a variety of factors primarily relating to physical make-up, but if you're in the neighborhood of 170-190 steps/minute, you're going to be in good shape. Of the many reasons I wear Newtons, their lightweight nature, low ramp angle and active forefoot technology allow me to achieve a 180 cadence much more easily than any other shoe.
So what's so great about this cadence range? Several things:
*You avoid excessive heel strike...it's hard to heel strike with a high cadence and heel strike = braking.
*Less elapsed ground contact and friction...you're running lightly.
*Better foot placement in relation to your center of mass (ie: less overstriding).
*Improved elastic recoil of the Achilles tendon.
*Less vertical oscillation.
All of these things lead to better running economy, which equals less energy to go the same speed, which equals less fatigue which means you can go out there and get after it more quickly than before. I think we can agree that these are all good things.
You can check out Steve's blog HERE.