Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Running Shuffle

I've had some interesting experiences over the past 3-4 weeks as I've
changed my running schedule and focused more on shorter distances (5k
and 10k), as well the adding speed work back to my schedule. Recently
I've noticed that my stride is more relaxed and I don't shuffle as
much as I did in years past. Then, interesting enough, I read an
article comparing ultra runners to the elite short and long distance

With respect to endurance runners, the author said he observed a very
fast stride rate of 190-200, with a relatively short stride; upright
posture without much forward lean into gravity; and very little air
time. He said this is a relatively safe stride and way to run as
these mechanics diminish contractile force and impact. However, these
mechanics offer little improvement for pace or speed, without some
sort of mechanic intervention.

This is interesting because one key to running faster is to reduce the
length of time your feet spend on the ground. This may be the
difference between ultra runners and elite short/long distance
runners. With that said, the one similarity is the "quick touch,"
that is lifting that foot off the ground as quickly as possible and
running close to the ground.

I'm finding this to be true for me as I don't shuffle nearly as much
and my cadence is down slightly but my speed in increasing, however,
I'm landing softly and coming off the ground quickly, and there's no
over-striding. I definitely have more air time and it feels really
relaxed. I'm expending less energy than I did with the shuffle,
probably because I'm more relaxed.

This is a very delicate issue but interesting nonetheless.


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