"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Theory of least-favored, Plan B and feasance

Here's what happened with the last experiment: Doing 1 meter box jumps is supposed to create DOMS in the quadriceps, which I was actually attempting. What heppened was that I did indeed get DOMS, but in the piriformis, quadratus femoris (a muscle I had to look up) and a bit in the pectineus.

Developing "dead quads" in races has been a problem for me and I'm trying to avoid it by getting used to whatever causes it. Doing a ton of long slow hills doesn't do it, thought he quads do get fatigued. Downhill sprints cause DOMS in the gluteus medius and tensaor fasciae latae. Squats and lunges do nothing for me.

One theory, the "least-favored muscle fibers"  theory, suggests that these are still the things to do. It is when these ancillary muscles are fatigued that the quads are called on to do more and are getting overworked. I'm not so sure, but it's something to keep in mind.

Because the problem only happens on occasion, it brings up the "feasance" idea, which comes from legal terms. If something is going wrong in racing, either you're doing the wrong thing, you're not doing the right thing or you're doing the right thing, but the wrong way.

I think balance is one of the key things in my problem. As we get older, our balance gets worse and, while I can plunge down hills on the road, trails are rutted, sandy and rocky and require one to step agilely. At Afton, one tends to run in bright daylight, then hit a steep downhill that's in complete shade; my eyes don't adjust fast enough, and balancing blind is much harder.

Either I'm occasionally over-striding to get to safe footing, which is over-taxing the legs, or putting on the brakes to avoid calamity is causing high eccentric loading.

What I think I need to do to simulate this without the danger of sliding and falling on a trail is to put obstacles on a steep downhill and force myself to run down at top speed, but do complete circles around the objects. The change in direction will require eccentric loading of the quads and, in turning, the hip flexors.

This might work. I'll let you know.

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