Saturday, November 3, 2012

In My Dreams I Am Built Like A Gazelle...

...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.

So it was with more than a little dismay, that I received some feed back on my style, and I was told that I looked as though I was putting in loads of effort, but not really going anywhere fast. 

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!

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