...but in reality I am build like a sausage dog. I feel a lot of envy for people like my running friend Kristy who was granted all of the right proportions to be a naturally fast, athletic, first-place getting runner. And while I don't run for a place on the podium (although a little part of me would like to be fast enough to win), I like to think that I am at least in some ways vaguely athletic.
In the ever-lasting progress of trying to improve my running style (I will be the first to admit that I don't really know what I am doing), I decided to try the highly scientific method of the watching-my-shadow-while-I-run technique of self assessment. When I was running at a steady pace, I thought that I didn't look too bad, my stride was smooth-ish - however all this changed when I transitioned to a faster pace. My upper and lower body were pumping away, and I felt fast, stream-lined, and powerful.
I glanced at my shadow. Limbs were flailing wildly, legs kicking high into the air behind me, and I appeared to be gaining more vertical height than forward momentum. Bugger - I was more or less sprinting on the spot.
Yesterday when I went out for my run, I focused on keeping my gait smooth, less bobbing up and down, longer strides initiated from the hip region, and faster leg paces. And the results were impressive. I was suddenly traveling a lot faster, with a lot less effort. I was far less tired out by the end of the 12km, my breathing was less labored and I even managed to knock about 10 min off my usual run time without really making an effort. There wasn't enough sun yesterday for me to conduct a comprehensive shadow test, so for all I know I still look like a windmill on a pogo stick, but maybe, just maybe, I have found a way of improving my speed, and making more efficient use of my energy.
In other exciting news, I have bought a pair of New Balance trail shoes to try out, will be interesting to see how they go, as they were a bit of an internet bargain. I think that I might invest in some Salomon's or Brookes down the line, but I will see how these ones go first.
Hopefully I can keep steam-lining my technique, and find my inner gazelle!