I had a huge breakthrough on my last run of 2011. I realized I was running wrong.
I finished reading Born to Run last week. The book covers a range of topics and there are several sections that discuss form. Unlike other sports, most people don’t take running lessons. I can’t imagine how I would have made it through eight years of gymnastics without coaches teaching me the proper way to execute skills (albeit, my form was FAR from perfect in gymnastics). But I’ve never considered taking running lessons. I just started running one day and figured I was doing it right.
My two form takeaways from the book were:
- Keep your back straight.
- Take smaller, quicker strides. A professor cited in the book researched Kenyan runners, who average 180 strides per minute. They don’t over-stride, always keeping their bodies in center of gravity.
The first half of my six mile run was pretty miserable. I felt slow and lethargic. During the second half, I focused on keeping my back straight and taking smaller, quicker strides. It made a HUGE difference. When focusing on these two things, my pace instantly dropped from about 9:20/minute to 8:40. It was amazing. I also tried to count out my steps and was around 160/minute. When counting my steps, my pace improved even more.
In addition to running faster, my recovery was also much better after this run. I didn’t have any lingering soreness when running my 5k on new year’s day. I definitely think I’m on to something here…
I’m running the Lake Samish Half Marathon on Sunday, but more on that tomorrow. Happy Friday!