Saturday, March 08, 2008

Who's Pulling My Strings?

In the quest to improve my running form I've decided that I'm a marionette.

Running seems like a pretty simple concept - put one foot in front of the other, do it faster and you go faster. However there is actually a lot of technique involved, most of which I haven't quite mastered yet, which was pretty clearly highlighted in the videos of the 17 January time trial and the 22 February time trial.

I find that visualization works very well for me so this year I've been looking for the imagery that would help me be a better runner. In the past I've used my grappling hook to catch runners in front of me - I'd mentally toss it at someone potentially catchable up ahead and let them pull me along and gradually pull them in. Sounds silly but it helped me feel like I was putting out just a little less effort.

One of the things I need to work on is posture, I tend to lead with my shoulders or head and hunch my shoulders forward. I decided to borrow from my old yoga instructor Jen and imagine a string attached to my spine pulling me. That didn't quite work so I moved it to my sternum and this not only got me standing up straight but allowed my shoulders to drop back. Sometimes I need a bit more support so the string is swapped for heavy duty rope threaded through a block and tackle with a 2 ton weight on the other end, but I digress.
At a club practice mini-duathlon several weeks ago Alan talked about stride and that most people step too far forward when really they need to land with their hips over their knee. To do this I needed to lift my knees more at the start of my stride so I attached two more strings, this time to the base of my quads, to help me get those knees up high

With my three strings I was running with much better form but I still didn't have my hips forward enough so what the heck, more strings! I mentally tied a string each to the front of my left and right hip but instead of pulling up these had to pull me forward so I use my grappling hook technique and get a ride from a speedster in front of.
So far it seems to be working well, if I trip though it's going to be one heck of a tangle!

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