It is vital that as a runner you identify any weaknesses. Whether they are physical or mental you have the most to gain from overcoming, or at least reducing, their negative impact. A quick honest self-assessment is the first step in a process that should result in tangible rewards.
In my off-season I endeavour to discover any specific areas of my running that I could improve. Then I attempt to rectify them.
As a runner who wears barefoot shoes I spend increasingly more miles running with a forefoot strike. I find this especially efficient and comfortable when undertaking speed workouts, strides and racing short distances, such as the mile up to 5km.
Recently, I realised that my calf muscles are a limiting factor in my performances. The start of my running club career has revealed a susceptibility to pain in my lower leg. Although disappointed in my fragility after only a couple of tough speed sessions, I accepted that I should not dwell on it. Instead I will embrace the challenge and believe that I can achieve a new level of fitness.
After some research I found the calf raise exercise to be the most effective means of combating my vulnerability.
My commitment is to strengthen my calves by maintaining a daily routine of sets of 20 single leg steady repetitions whilst standing, at least twice a day. I intend to record my progress and aim to move to harder variations such as whilst on stairs and including hopping.
Calf raises also provide improvements in ankle strength and balance. Visualisations can also be completed during this straightforward exercise.