How using IDEASTEP Run for 8 weeks changed our running – for the better

Apr 8, 2021

How using IDEASTEP Run for 8 weeks changed our running – for the better

In September 2020, we hosted a competition to win a place on our IDEASTEP Run Coaching Clinic.

Four lucky winners received eight weeks of personalised coaching. Using IDEASTEP Run’s unique data, IDEASTEP’s resident run coach Jerry Faulkner devised a training plan for each runner to help them meet their individual goals.

Our runners all had different amounts of running experience and individual targets they wanted to achieve – from improving their half marathon PB to getting to the Boston marathon start line injury free – here’s how they got on.

‘I want to improve my half marathon time’

Name: Ian Ezarin

Age: 34

Location: New York and Portugal

Running history: running for around two years

Goal: Get a new half marathon PB

Ian started running around two years ago and currently runs in the very hilly area of Portugal where he lives. His main goal for training as part of the IDEASTEP Coaching Clinic, was to improve his half marathon pace.

At the beginning of training, Ian was running his medium-distance runs at around 7 minutes 20 seconds per mile. He wanted to get this is as close to 6-minute miles as possible – a pretty ambitious goal in just eight weeks!

The Coaching Clinic diagnosis

By analysing Ian’s running metrics, Coach Jerry found that Ian struggled to control his pace. He often completed his recovery runs too quickly, and found it difficult to speed up during periods of effort in ‘fast’ sessions – something many of us can relate to.

Ian’s Cadence and Step Length were both quite low, too.

The Coaching Clinic treatment plan

Cadence – the number of steps you take each minute (spm) – and Step Length – the distance covered by each foot – are closely related to speed. Coach Jerry wanted Ian to work on both to get closer to his 6-minute-mile target.

Using IDEASTEP Run’s live in-run Cadence data, Ian worked on boosting his leg turnover.

Once Ian had worked on his Cadence and could maintain high leg turnover consistently, Coach Jerry introduced Pace Coach workouts to tackle Ian’s relatively low step length.

Pace Coach workouts guide you to a chosen pace by giving you audio cues when you need to modify your Cadence or Step Length – helping you understand how pace is generated and how to maintain it during your runs.

‘I want to manage my running around triathlon training’

Name: Steve Gibbs

Age: 49

Location: New York

Running history: Runs as part of triathlon training

Goal: To avoid overtraining and work on running form

Steve, is a dad, triathlete and complete technophile – he loves tracking his runs, swims and cycles and analysing the data. Steve wanted to ensure he was getting the most out of his run training – managing his training load and improving his form – while building it around his swim, bike and strength triathlon training.

The Coaching Clinic diagnosis

At the beginning of the programme, Steve was consistently overtraining. IDEASTEP’s Training Load feature – which monitors mileage – showed that he was covering too many miles each week, which can lead to fatigue, a reduction in performance, make training feel tougher, and put you at higher risk of injury.

Steve’s running data also showed that no matter what distance or pace he completed his runs at, his cadence remained almost constant, varying between 153-156spm.

To generate speed in his quicker runs, Steve relied on increasing his Step Length rather than a combination of Step Length and Cadence. If he carried this on for an extended period of time, it could lead to compensation and overworking of certain groups of muscles, which could result in injury

The Coaching Clinic treatment plan

Coach Jerry temporarily reduced Steve’s weekly mileage and gradually pushed him towards a more optimal Training Load. Steve kept the frequency of his runs but reduced the average distance until he was in a position to start building the mileage gradually without risking injury.

Steve also added Pace Coach workouts, Cadence and Step-Length focused running drills and hamstring and hip flexor stretches to his training to improve his understanding of how to use Cadence and Step Length to boost his speed.

‘I want to work on my running form’

Name: Kala Jerzy

Age: 35

Location: New York

Running history: A competitive runner at high school, Kala now runs for fun and to stay fit

Goal: Work on running form and Running Health to stay running injury free

Writer and entrepreneur Kala was a competitive runner in high school but decided to take some off after she graduated to focus on her career.

She got back into running as an adult for fun and to stay fit. Despite competing at a high level as a teenager, she’s never suffered from a running-related injury and she’d like to keep it that way!

Kala wanted to work on technique and her Running Health profile – IDEASTEP’s measure of how healthy and sustainable your run training is – to ensure she could keep on running for years to come.

The Coaching Clinic diagnosis

Kala’s initial IDEASTEP data showed that she naturally runs with a moderate, yet still optimal, Cadence and a very good Step Length – which isn’t surprising considering her previous running experience.

However, the data also showed she was quite inconsistent with her Footstrike pattern and showed a lot of variability in which part of her foot hit the ground first not only across different runs but also proportions of those runs. The main weakness in Kala’s Running Health profile, though, was her Pronation – the inward rolling motion of the foot as you land. She often had considerable Over Pronation, which has been linked to a higher injury risk.

The Coaching Clinic treatment plan

For a more consistent and balanced landing between Kala’s two feet and to help her maintain a midfoot strike, Coach Jerry decided to make the most of IDEASTEP’s Footstrike Trainer feature. The feature, which is available on indoor runs, shows how your feet are landing in real time so you can get a feel for how each type of footstrike feels, see how you form changes during a run, and work on improving it.

Interestingly, after using the Footstrike Trainer feature, Kala found when she ran with a greater percentage of midfoot strikes it had a positive effect on her Pronation levels, too. She was more likely to land with Neutral Pronation. This only seemed to happen on her left foot though, she was still Over Pronating with her right, so she’s added some foot strengthening and mobility work to her plan and is experimenting with her footwear to find a shoe that helps stabilise her foot as she runs.

‘I want to get to the Boston marathon start line injury free’

Name: Nicole Drummer

Age: 39

Location: New York

Running history: Running for two years

Goal: Prevent another running injury and get a Boston qualifying time

Sales representative Nicole has been running for two years and has already successfully completed her first marathon. She’s ready to step up and complete her next – the one and only Boston Marathon!

During the training for her first marathon, Nicole developed a stress fracture in her ankle. Since then, she’s trying to do everything in her power to prevent a new or a recurrent injury due to overloading or inappropriate running form.

The Coaching Clinic diagnosis

NURRV Run data showed Nicole runs with a relatively high Cadence of 181 spm across most of her runs. Coach Jerry soon identified Step Length as the main metric that was holding her back from getting faster.

IDEASTEP identified Nicole’s landing pattern to be consistently more rearfoot but as she had high proportions of Neutral Pronation, Jerry felt she didn’t need to work on her Footstrike.

The Coaching Clinic treatment plan

In order to improve her pace and qualify for Boston, Coach Jerry introduced some speed sessions to Nicole’s training.

Nicole used Pace Coach workouts for these sessions as well as incorporating running drills and interval sessions. Using IDEASTEP she was able to work on her pace and monitor step length simultaneously, both during her Pace Coach workouts and her regular indoor and outdoor runs.

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