Thursday, February 05, 2009

Self Analyzing Running

There are two treadmills at my gym that are set up directly in front of a mirror. The rest face outdoors, peering through the glass wall. Of the 12 treadmills at the gym, only two now will not skip and will hold speed when it's set above 11mph. I was relegated to the one of these which is facing the mirror. As I ran, I analyzed my form, and thought process and how it affected my effort and gait, and confirmed a few things; first, while running at a fast effort, the more that I focused on turning over from the hip, relaxing my upper body, and kicking up behind me, the more comfortable I was at that speed. What affected it more though were two things - If I smiled it felt easier. that simple. Seems goofy, but it works. As I ran at a hard effort, smiling, it turned my thoughts automatically into the positiveness of just running and training in general. Yes, again, sounds goofy, but try it - what have you got to lose? You already look dweeby in your tight running shorts, matching tri-shirt, compression socks, heart rate monitor, fuel belt, and matching wrist and head band (yeah, you know that's you), so you may as well put a dumb grin on your face. The other was thinking aggressive. If I were running say at 11 mph, instead of thinking "try to keep up with this speed!", I'd aggressively try to outrun that speed crowding the front of the treadmill so that I actually had to back off my own tempo a bit.

Too often we get in the pattern of "hoping" we have a good run and can keep up a specific pace, and thinking too much about whether we are going to hard and if we'll blow. Smile and be aggressive and you'll get that much more out of your next tempo, interval or race session. Simple as that.


Anonymous said...

I think about form and relaxation more as a longer run goes on. I've found that so many people clench unnecessary muscles when fatigue set in.. kinda like when the gym meathead would rather thump his chest claiming he benched a billion pounds vs. keeping good form with a little less weight. He looks as if he's going to crap out his colon.. and some actually do.

Look at any good LD runner - even when they are tired they still look bouncy and relaxed. Even sprinters look freaky in slow mo with their faces bouncing everywhere.

Seems like the urge when tired is to clench up every muscle when in reality we should be doing the opposite.


Keith said...

I think you make a great point here. People do almost everything better when they relax, and let it flow. Clench your jaw, and other muscles in the neck clench, which tightens up shoulders and so on.

carlgrus said...

I am much more relaxed when I either don't wear my heart rate monitor, or don't pay attention to it. And when I don't, my upper body doesn't get as tense, and I do think about my form much more.

Also, doing those strength training exercises twice a week for the last 2 weeks, does seem to help relax me as well. It may only be psychological, but that's what this posting is all about. Carl