Men’s Health Run 2016, Putrajaya – Runscribe Analysis

After having them unused in my “running stuff” box for many months, I recently re-activated my Runscribe pods. Runscribe measures a number of running related metrics that allow assessment of Running Efficiency, Shock and Motion. The web interface, presentation of data and documentation of metrics improved considerably over the last months. As such I used them to record my Half Marathon run at the Men’s Health Run 2016.

Especially interesting this time was to see how my running fares with my knee problems, I have been struggling with for the last 2 months or even more. My right knee has been inflamed all that time. Only the level of pain has been varying from a simple “ouch” to a sometimes unbearable “*$%!?§*@, that hurts”. For this run the pain was just bearable enough to dare to run. Range of motion of my right knee was compromised, couldn’t fully bend it. As such I saw the risk that the inflammation becomes so painful during the run that I have to drop out (DNF) or face cramps due to the unnormal running form.

As there wasn’t much training possible for the last months, not only due to the knee inflammation but also due to the opening of my Personal Training studio, I had moderate expectations of my performance in this run. Main objective was to see how well I can manage a flat 5 minutes pace over the HM distance of 21.1km. This would allow me to estimate how many km I can pace a running friend of mine, who targets a 3h:30min Full Marathon finishing time next week at the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon. For this finishing time a pretty much flat 5 minutes pace is needed. I would love to pace her respectively for as many kilometers as possible.

Punctual at 8pm the race was flagged off. I was in the second row at the starting line, to avoid human traffic slowing me down. It started well, controlled myself to a reasonable 4:41 pace for the first km. Subsequently I held a constant pace of just below 5 minutes per km until km 16. Then I felt my performance drop. It was pretty much black and white, from hero to zero. Starting km 17 I felt like hitting the wall, something that happens to less experienced runners during a FM at around km30. Hitting the wall happens when the body runs out of Glycogen to fuel the muscles, switching to fat as energy source. The process of fat conversion to Glycogen is a time consuming process, forcing the runner to slow down, adjusting the pace to the pace at which energy is made available from fat.

For that to happen as early as km 17 is very unusal. However, I did a tough EMS strength session at my studio on the same morning and I didn’t fuel necessarily a lot and in time to be made available for my muscles. Lack of training was another factor for my performance drop at km 17. The lack of Glycogen and low blood sugar made me feel also a bit dizzy, making it challening to avoid the many runners in my way, as for the last 4 km, the 12km runners merged with the HM runners.

As expected my calves now also felt like cramping. My “funny” running, not being able to bend my right knee as I normally do, had its effect. This was another factor to be considered, I had to further reduce my pace avoiding cramps.

As you can see, a lot of drama but it was nevertheless an enjoyable run at slightly wet and cooling conditions. Finishing the last few km a bit slower and more cautious I ended the under distanced run (20.78km versus 21.1km) in 1h:44min:23sec, leading to an average pace of 5:01 pace.

Here the Garmin stats:

Garmin summary statistics

Garmin summary statistics

Remarkable the high cadence of 175 steps per minute. Good for my level, as 160 something are actual normal for me. The cadence rate is also confirmed by the Runscribe summary, it shows 176 steps/min:

Runscribe summary statistics

Runscribe summary statistics

In the Runscribe summary you can already see some of the information Runscribe provides. Interesting here is the difference of foot strike between left and right foot. It may be the limited range of motion of my right knee that made me run mainly on the forefoot, versus my preferred midfoot strike. The forefoot running may have been the reason why I felt a cramp in my calves coming up, as forefoot running is very straineous for the calves.

Here the Running Efficiency metrics provided by Runscribe:

Runscribe Running Efficiency Metrics

Runscribe Running Efficiency Metrics

Proud of the step rate. 180 steps per minute are considered ideal for running, even though that consideration is lately been challenged. Contact times are not bad with 190ms to 400ms being typical. Flight ratio of 14% also within the typical range of 0% to 50%. Overall I need to improve my efficiency based on these values, reduce contact time and increase flight ratio. Certainly achievable, once I can up my training.

Here the Shock metrics provided by Runscribe:

Runscribe Shock Metrics

Runscribe Shock Metrics

Typical range for Impact GS is 5GS to 14GS and Breaking GS is 4G to 13G. I lie for both on the upper side of the range. Not sure what to do about that, as my landing is rather quiet, indicating a light and controlled landing of my foot. The values may be explained by my weight? I will keep an eye on that and see how to reduce the forces my body has to absorb with every step.

Here the Motion metrics provided by Runscribe:

Runscribe Motion Metrics

Runscribe Motion Metrics

As discussed above the Footstrike Type metric shows a big difference between my left and right foot, the left food landed midfoot, while the right foot landed forefoot. I personally preferred to harmonize both feet to show midfoot strike. Forefoot strike is simply too straining on the calves for a long distance run. For sprinting forefoot running is certainly the superior gait but not for anything more than that as far as amateur runners are concerned.

I say this due to the high injury risk of the calves when running forefoot, while not having conditioned and strengthened the calves good enough. Current heavily proclaimed running “movements / paradigms” suggest runners to run forefoot, promising injury free running. A claim not supported by scientific studies that cover the long term effects of endurance runners switching to forefoot running, as such highly questionable and irresponsible.

Typical range for Pronation Excursion is -2 to -20 degress and Max Pronation Velocits is 200 DEG/SEC to 900 DEG/SEC. For both I am well within the range, happy with it for the moment.

Conclusion

It was a good and well organized run and I am happy with my result. Interesting to see the Runscribe metrics and learnings one can take away from them. I will continue to measure and protocol my runs and step by step try to improve by adjusting my training focus and training methods.

If you are interested in measuring your running with the Runscribe pods, let me know. Together with another well established runner in the Malaysian running community we may offer clinics or sessions, where you can do a test run with Runscribe and get recommendations on what you can improve.

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