Making your legs "jelly-proof" even on the steepest of downhills
Runners find pride in pain.
We will bang our chest about grueling track workouts and all-day long runs.
All that is fine.
I do the same.
But, there is one pain we would all like to avoid:
You know, it is that fatigued plodding sensation you feel in your legs deep into race day where you feel like you could fall over at any moment even when you are putting all of your concentration in trying to stay up right.
The good news is that this common running pain point is entirely avoidable.
And, one of the major ways to make your legs "jelly-proof" is to know how much you can afford to push the downhills.
If you don't commonly practice downhill running, the impact forces can send "liquifying" shocks right through the biggest muscles in your legs.
It may feel natural to roll down the hill at full speed, but this decision will catch up to you.
The "jelly-ification" process does not happen immediately.
It is only later, after more pounding, that the pain really begins to set in.
At that time, it is too late.
The question is: how much do you need to slow down to ensure you don't "liquify" your legs?
There is a precursor to Jelly Legs.
You can use this precursor to know how costly downhill running is.
The precursor is a metric that Stryd reports: Leg Spring Stiffness
Leg Spring Stiffness (LSS) is a measure of how much energy you recycle when running. It correlates with how strong your legs at.
Your leg stiffness is high at the start of your run and slowly drops as you run. Each impact you take degrades your leg stiffness more and more.
If you beat your legs up too much, your leg stiffness will drop to a critical threshold where you are hardly recycling energy any longer.
You want to stay away from this threshold.
With Stryd's leg stiffness metrics, you can monitor how much downhills impact you.
This will let you make smarter decisions on race day, such as knowing how hard you can afford to push to get "free speed" on the downhills or how much you need to back off.
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