After all the issues with Michiel’s knee, I have had to slow down the running training dramatically over the past few months. We couldn’t risk injuring it further, and had time on our side to slow it down and strengthen it.

Physio, power walks, stretches and even work on the cross trainer has helped massively. I am so pleased with the progress he has made! There were some unsure times!

The 1/2 marathon in North Korea was the ultimate test, 22km solid running, and he smashed it! He does still get problems, and times we have to pay close attention to it, but we are now fully back on track with running training – PHEW!

Celebrating a 12km run along Barcelona promenade!

We have been working on running technique too, and ways to get Michiel running faster:

  • Keeping the head up – head should be over your shoulders, eyes looking forward. NO slumping!
  • Neck and shoulders more relaxed—tightness will just use up valuable energy.
  • Relaxed hands—this isn’t boxing – hands in a neutral position, and no unnecessary clenching.
  • Hip alignment – believe it or not, power walking has helped with this! Keeping the hips aligned with the legs/feet helps greatly!
  • Communicate the brain with the body. Listen to what it is saying and stay in tune with it. If it is in pain, stop, stretch, or rest a little.
  • BREATHING – key with everything, find a steady breathing rate – it will help massively with running and endurance.
  • Interval training: short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer recovery time. Sprints, followed by a jog for example, in short bursts – this will help the body go faster, and get used to using energy. Although we are training for endurance, short interval training sessions also has massive benefits.
  • Legs/Stride – Distance runners don’t need such an exaggerated knee lift – it’s wouldn’t be able to be sustained for long times. Instead, practicing just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a shorter stride is more beneficial! That being said, Michiel had got into the habit of trying not to have much impact, with very soft and short knee lifts, so we work on bringing it up slightly, without dragging, but low enough to last for endurance!

I will keep you updated on how Michiel’s running improves in future whilst continuing to work on the points above!