Speed work and ankles

Before I did my 10km last week I had been working a bit on speed and it seemed to be making a difference. The one thing that seemed to happen as I speeded up was my ankles activated and moved. I now have a feeling that this is how most people run and I maybe shuffle rather than run. I am working on using my ankles to push off more but I am finding that they are quite tired as I don't think I have been using them properly for a long time. Do you all run by using your ankles? Am I trying to do the right thing here or not?

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  • I think I use my ankles because they get quite achey after long runs. In fact I was going to post and ask people for recommendations for compression socks because after my long run last week my left ankle was very sore. I do exercises for ankles all the time and I know they are critical for our balance when we run, otherwise we'd fall over!

    Maybe your gait is slightly different when you run faster which would make sense.

  • I think your right I notice I run differently at speed.

  • Funnily enough, I've noticed that I've been using my ankles more since I broke my right one. At first I though I was just more conscious of them since the accident but no, I'm definitely using them more to push off as I run, and it definitely makes a difference. We never stop learning, do we? 😀

  • I twisted my left ankle the same day you broke yours and it's been niggly ever since its healed but my arthritis happily builds bone spurs on injured bones. I am now beginning to think my whole leg up to the gluteus need more stretches. As you say we are always learning.

  • Well - the Chi and Pose schools of running say that we should't "push off" at all !!! :) All we need to do to run is - to lean forwards on one leg and then place the other leg in front of us to stop us from falling to the ground. -- repeat over again and again.

    As for running "form" - I am convinced that proper running form ( as commonly discussed) needs to have a fair amount of forward pace to be activated. Hence , very slow running pace does not/can not lead to correct form - but more of a shuffle (like what I do!! ) :)

    However - without sufficient cardio vascular ability (VO2 max??) , we cannot maintain the pace that leads to good form.

    So what comes first - the chicken or the egg??? For me, I am physically unable to improve VO2 max much further (simply because of age) - so improving running form becomes a moot point. I can however improve strength and stamina - which should lead to improved ability to use legs - lungs are as good as they are ever going to be!! :)

  • You raise a very good point, I am not sure I lean forward when I run. I will have to try and determine my overall stance when I run. You say you shuffle but your pace is good compared to me and I do think I am lacking in form somewhere. I think I will have to take my husband out with me and get him to video me on my phone so I can have a better look. I have just begun to work on strength, core and stretches to aid me.

  • Awww thank you. I think you might be on to something as I have been working on a shorter cadence maybe i need to look into that a bit more.

  • I think Kat is spot on - if you want to change your gait, it should come by strengthening your muscles, not by trying to artificially change the way you move your feet during your run.

    I've been discussing this in some detail with my physio. I suffer from a bad Achilles tendon and part of the reason is the way I roll on my left foot when I push off. She advised against trying to right the foot during runs, as that is likely to lead to over compensating and injury. Instead she suggested calf exercises to build up muscle that will give better support and that way "automatically" improve the gait.

  • I'm thinking along similar lines myself now. I have started this week working on my core and squats also lots of stretching, I agree with thinking this is the way forward.

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