Running on the flat:: I seriously wish someone... - Bridge to 10K

Bridge to 10K
11,584 members15,052 posts

Running on the flat:

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10

I seriously wish someone would give some pointers for flat training. If you have to include hills in your daily runs, as I and many others do, it can be really difficult to adapt to flat running. All my runs are undulating, unless I go somewhere without undulations - even the flatter bits have subtle ups and downs. I had the recent experience of running along the tow path in Oxford and it felt ungainly and lumbering, When I looked at the pace afterwards, it was pretty much the same as always, but it felt so wrong, like my legs were failing to lift off the ground and my body was full of wet sand. I mentioned it on the Marcothon forum at the time - there are a lot of Scottish runners on there - and some people said they found running on the flat horrible. I know this seems controversial as many people dread hills, but I find it a genuine problem and would be interested to hear others' views (I know Oldfloss had a similar experience recently at park run).

40 Replies
oldestnewest
Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator

Morning Flick.. I shall watch for replies with interest.... :)

I am heading for Park Run again on Saturday...I wondered whether with me it was a deep inner psychological thing.Maybe deep down, I expected it to be much easier and faster than my normal routes ??? I was already wound up because of the number of people.. which did not help...hmmm .

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

It may be but I don’t think it is. It’s happened to me every time I’ve run in the flat, and only one if those was park run. I look forward to hearing how you get in on Saturday xxx

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to FlickM3

Well I think I do agree with you.. and not sure how it will go... a regular run this morning..5.6 K in 36.49... and it was cold... ( should have been a long run but the air got to me)!

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

Freezing here x

AlMorr
AlMorrGraduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

Excellent time for you Floss considering the weather conditions, you were very sensible on shortening it as the air got to you, enjoy your parkrun on Saturday morning. 😊 🏃

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to AlMorr

Well only a minute or so more than my 5K Happy pace which is nearly always 35 mins...and faster than 5K Park Run on Saturday...! Blooming cold here today.. and a real chilly wind!

AlMorr
AlMorrGraduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

Where I am in Central Scotland, Cumbernauld near Glasgow its around +3C, cloudy wih no wind, I went a walk/run this morning, a bit of week 2 of C25K. I will soon have to get back to longer runs, just testing my legs, they seem OK, enjoy the rest of the day. 😊

Like you Flick, I live with hills.

I came across this........did make me think a bit.

runnersworld.com/training/a...

theoldfellow
theoldfellowGraduate10
in reply to Millsie-J

Interesting. No tracks here, I'll have to think about investing in a treadmill......

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to theoldfellow

I have a small one for weather emergencies.

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Millsie-J

Thank you for this, it’s excellent. It also explains why I find the treadmill such hard work (boredom aside) x

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to Millsie-J

This is really, really useful... I shall up my indoor training I think.., not just for icy days and injury recovery!!! Maybe get out to a track near here too in one of the local parks... Thank you so much! xx

Millsie-J
Millsie-J
in reply to Oldfloss

You are very welcome😀

Sandyscroll
SandyscrollGraduate10
in reply to Millsie-J

Great article...very useful, thank you. 👍

theoldfellow
theoldfellowGraduate10

I'd like to hear the answer to that too. I thought, after my training area about the village here, that when I did the Keswick Parkrun it was dead flat. But then someone from elsewhere else said they found the hill really hard, and I realised that there was a hill! (54m over 2.5K) The only other places I've run have all had gentle hills like that, so I need to know how to face a flat run too.

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to theoldfellow

What the article said about using different muscles makes sense and is possibly why Oldfloss found she couldn’t get into her happy pace at park run.

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to FlickM3

It really was helpful wasn't it!! I am not weird... and neither are you :) xxx

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

No and I just never thought of the muscle thing, but it makes so much sense xxx

I run like I'm in clown shoes on the flat. I do think you get very used to your own 'normal' wherever you run, so I try to mix things up a bit with hills and flatwork and have noticed my form is definitely better on hillier terrain. I think running changing gradients means I don't switch off and go into screen saver mode like I do when I'm running flat laps round the park, my feet get a bit lazy when I do that.

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Sqkr

Interesting. Thank you for this. I’m moving to a flatter area and will have to make sure I still get hill runs in.

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to FlickM3

Come visit me..... we'll head to Derbyshire...Carsington reservoir is just a little way from here... you'll love it.. there are a couple of really wonderful inclines!!!

Some of our most awesome runners know them well.... !

I have cycled and walked it..but only run on the flattish sections:)

carsington7.co.uk/

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

That looks amazing. I would love to run that 🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to FlickM3

The year is young..who knows ?

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

:)

mountaindreamer
mountaindreamerGraduate10

Wow, something I’d never even considered, but that article does make a lot of sense! I’m just about to workout where to drive to start adding in a bit of hill work, but have to admit I love plodding along on the flat.

As I forefoot strike for about the first 8k of longer runs, though, then have to switch to mid foot striking once my feet get tired, I wonder if I vary the muscles I use a bit naturally anyway...

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to mountaindreamer

I don’t think what you describe might vary them enough. I’m a mid foot striker but hills make me use every part of my feet, back, legs etc. The first few months of running I got tight calves from going up and down hill, though it went away in the end, and I’m not sure flat running, even varying the tread, would give you that - but I’m no expert so you may well be right x

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator
in reply to FlickM3

I don't know how I strike..I just run,??

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Oldfloss

Mid foot striking for me was picked up when I had my gait tested, and I can feel it, and the wear on my shoes bears it out. But I heel strike a bit downhill or when I’m really tired. What really made me notice was running in Brooks shoes earlier last year, and I could really feel the heel strike and how uncomfortable it was because the heel drop was too large for me. I switched to On shoes which are lower. If you only run in trail shoes and mostly off road, you May notice it very little

mountaindreamer
mountaindreamerGraduate10
in reply to FlickM3

I’m sure it won’t help me at all for hills, Flick, but suspect the striking change does change the muscles I use a fair bit, so may make the repetitiveness of flat runs less drastic for me. I was also kind of thinking aloud...

Today I thought about how you guys feel on flat runs (not lifting off / heavy wet sand / clown feet) while running a - in places very rough - but flat towpath. It occurred to me that my forefoot striking (think body leaning forwards more, land on forefoot, then softly kiss floor with my heel before next forefoot strikes...) naturally adds a spring to my step, so may be one way of making flat runs less unpleasant for you. I’m not even capable of midfoot striking until it happens naturally later in a long run, as doing so at the start just makes me feel like I lose all momentum and can’t get going (a bit like you seem to describe on flat runs).

No idea if it’s the answer, but after originally being concerned that my gait was too unstable for me to run distance without injury, I’ve discovered many distance and trail runners use a forefoot striking style successfully. I’ve even read articles on how to learn to switch to forefoot striking as one way to help increase running speed! (I’m hoping my feet will eventually get strong enough to maintain the style for HM distance, as it also definitely reduces impact up my spine.)

I’m about to consider starting hill training next...wish me luck! 😳❤️

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to mountaindreamer

This is totally fascinating. Thank you for your detailed response. I think I need to change something, as pictures of me running at the end of races, I look more as if I’m walking leg and foot wise.

UpTheStanley
UpTheStanleyGraduate10

A very interesting thread - my running is usually pancake flat which suits my obsession with stats, as every k is like the one before and the one after, except when I change from upwind to downwind, so comparisons are easy ….. even minor bumps make me think. But back in the day I used to enjoy the "Top of the Rock" race which happened every time HMS Whatever got to Gibraltar - that one sure did get the leg muscles after a few days at sea :-)

And as Dexy5 bought me a pair of trail shoes for Christmas, I think I may become reacquainted with hills fairly soon - Southsea is the equal 2nd flattest Parkrun in the country, while just up the road Queen Elizabeth Country Park is 509th out of 519 with 376 feet of ascent (against 3) ….. ooooer :-(

Or do you think she meant something else when she handed them over and told me to hit the trail ?

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10

Interestingly, hills or flat, my overall pace is the same, though not each km as in your experience.i guess what goes up must come down, and my uphill bits are getting closer to my downhill bits pace wise as time goes on.

I’m smiling at your last remark 😊I’m sure if she meant sling your hook, she would have handed you your oldest shoes, it bought you new ones 😂

Tartancat
TartancatGraduate10

I find when I run on the flat that pacing is more difficult. I start too fast and run out of steam. My usual routes are all up and down, and I use the downs to catch my breath.

I agree with the running article though- you can feel different muscles working when you get on the flat after climbing a hill.

In the end though, practice will make perfect Flick!

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Tartancat

Lol practice what???

Tartancat
TartancatGraduate10
in reply to FlickM3

Running on the flat!

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to Tartancat

I will get plenty of practice once I move 😂😂😂

Oh my goodness, I thought it was just me. Where is live and run I have hills everywhere and so was really looking forward to my first park run as it was flat. Then to my disappointment discovered running on the flat is really hard. While the uphill is challenging I now realise how much I use the downhill run for recovery

theoldfellow
theoldfellowGraduate10
in reply to GoHelen

That's right. I find myself planning my runs round here so that I am coming down when I am tired. But the big issue is the heel-strike and the impact damage it does if it is uncontrolled - so maybe we should be doing the downhill while there is still some glycogen in the muscles.

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to theoldfellow

Yes the heel strike can be a problem. /i think it's why my shoes wear mid foot AND on the heels!

FlickM3
FlickM3Graduate10
in reply to GoHelen

It's definitely not just you :) Hills are a pain at the beginning of a run - and there is a steep bit during toxic 10 whichever direction I run in here - but I find that the second hill, once I've got going, is really enjoyable, and the downhill bits do, as you say, help recovery AND make up pace

You may also like...