Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good word from a buddy, and more running tips

So I just had a long talk with a good buddy of mine. He went to a good form running workshop at a local running store, Playmakers (amazing place), got some form tips and realized that one of the reasons he hates running is that he was making it harder than it ought to be. This is one of the things I want to help hammer home here. That alliteration is effective and that running is relaxing.

Running is a natural thing for you to be doing and your body is really good at it. It's all about form and philosophy.

The right form in my opinion is anything that makes your running feel easier, lighter, less burdensome, more uplifting. Things that have helped me accomplish this include

Finding ever more ways to relax.
1. Peel your feet off the ground rather than pushing off of them. Never push off of
your back foot unless you're sprinting or climbing.

2. Fall forward. Don't push, fall. If your core is engaged and you are leaning forward from the ankles, the only time you need any tension in your legs is when you are physically catching yourself from falling. You are then supporting yourself forward in a controlled fall rather than leaping from foot to foot.

3. Engage your core. As you fall and one leg goes behind you, a tight core will use
the natural elasticity of your thigh muscles to bounce that leg forward. You won't have to pull as hard.

4. Did I say relax? If all of these tips are creating a maelstrom of impossible to coordinate feedback and confusion, just relax everything you possibly can. I love technical tips and anatomy so this stuff is fun for me to experiment with. If it isn't helping, ignore all of it and relax.

When I say this I'm really talking about the interplay between your motivations to do this, your internal dialogue while doing it, and your support activity when you're not doing it.

1. Your motivation for an activity obviously plays a significant role in your attitudes around it. I submit that you should make your best effort to be motivated by finding ways to enjoy it more. Not only will this lead you to actually finding those ways, it will occupy your mind with a positive goal. Finding them takes me back to one of my first posts here: do you like gadgets? Get some. Do you like company? Run with a group.

2. Internal dialogue while running can totally empower you or demotivate your butt
back to the couch. If you're looking for ideas I suggest you read the fruitarian's race report from a 100 mile race. It is LONG, but it gives you some insight into what people struggle with. Surprise, it's exactly what YOU struggle with, he just has some great strategies in place before he sets foot on a course. Do the same. Develop mantras to get you past tough spots. We all have them and overcoming them is what reinforces your determination.

3. Support activity = things you do to take care of yourself so you are ready for your next run. Stretching, rolling, massage, icing, recovering, eating well, sleeping, etc. Make sure that you don't go for runs that are guaranteed to suck unless you want to. Sometimes this is rewarding. You get determined, you run even though you haven't had any sleep, and you complete! Excellent. Other times, you had some wine last night and you go out for a run tired, it's a terrible run and it demotivates you for next time. If you are going to be discouraged by this kind of run, either don't drink the wine or don't do the run. That's all about you knowing yourself well enough to do some internal management.

Hope these help.
Good running!

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