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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday, Jan. 30th . . . I found my stride again

One of my best long runs in a long time. A 10 mile trail run at a comfortable 7:30 pace in the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC's. I was pleased that I was able to control myself and not run faster. I'm also all smiles because everything was clicking but more importantly, I found my stride. It's been about 6 weeks since I stupidly decided to tweak my arm carriage and that altered by foot plant and ultimately caused pain in my right foot (early stage plantar fasciitis). I never thought it would take so long to recover my form but it was a major lesson learned.

It was a long road back to hard coding the key elements of my running form. The last pieces included reminding myself that I focus on "attacking the ground," just like sprinters because that forces the foot back down quickly, shortens the stride and increases stride rate. That still means you land lightly but you get the foot back on the ground quickly (just as Gordon Pirie recommended). Additionally, I returned to my naturally higher arm carriage, around a 65-70 degree angle as opposed to the often referenced 90 degree carriage (if you look at some of the greats lke Haile and Bekele, they have a higher arm carriage which is similar to sprinters and that also helps shorten the stride and increase cadence). You see a lot of us Americans running with our arms around waist level which I think is a critical mistake and can lead to a host of problems including injury.

The real discussion is passive arm carriage vs. active arm carriage. I'm a believer in active arm carriage which probably requires more energy and fitness but is a key element in maintaining proper running form and technique.


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