Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Early Bird & the Running Form Dilemma

Nothing beats going to the gym early so you have your pick of machines to choose from...

This morning's workout was great! I did a total of 45 minutes of cardio. I spent 30 minutes on the upright bike...
(I know I picked one of the tackiest looking bikes this morning but I wanted to be in front of the window so I could see outside. It's one of the most popular bikes because of it's location in the gym)

Then I spent 15 minutes on the stride machine (similar to the elliptical), but forgot to take a pic (sorry...you just have to take my word for it). My knee felt good, but I do have some IT band soreness from the self-massage I did yesterday which has been somewhat bothersome all day today.

Today I have been thinking a lot about my running form (which is pretty bad by-the-way) and how to improve it in order to prepare for upcoming events and minimize my risk of injury. I'm trying to avoid having to return to physical therapy (although I really got benefit from it) because it's a "financial challenge" at the moment.

The reason for my focus on running form today was because I was finally able to view (in detail....and repeatedly) a few video clips that my Dad took during my half last weekend. And let's just say my form is pretty bad. I always knew it was bad...but wow...when you see it on video and can view it in slow motion...it was quite an eye-opening experience.

Before the half I was all set and ready to go, feeling good despite lack of sleep the night before. However, during the event I struggled with my endurance and I knew my running form (which starts off as "less than ideal") was falling apart. I have a short video clip below (not the best quality video but it works) that shows me running after the mile 10 mark. You can't really hear my Dad well but he is encouraging me and you can understand why when you see my facial expression (I look like I'm dying...and remember feeling that way too). Those who know me well know that I don't mask my emotions. My facial expressions reveal EXACTLY how I am feeling at the moment. I epitomize the antonym of a "poker face".

Ok....deep breath....let me preface the video by saying that posting it here was not easy for me. However, I know other newbie runners out there (and maybe even veteran runners) might also have issues with form and can see what not to do. Also, I can use some tips and feedback...I can't change the way I run overnight and I certainly don't expect to develop the perfect form, but if I can tweak a few things I am willing to try...
video

So there are several noticeable things right away:
1. My feet kick out to the side (it's very funny looking and yes, I have always run like that)
2. My arms cross in front of my body a bit (which I remember Kaiyu's track coach telling her not to do)
3. I have a short stride (but according to Jeff Galloway that's a good thing to help avoid heel striking)
4. I heel strike anyway
5. I land on the insides of my feet when I run (but walk on the outsides of my feet). I wonder if the run:walk technique balances that or poses more of a problem when I do that?
6. My endurance is poor so maintaining proper form (or any type of form for that matter) is hard towards the latter part of my races/training runs.

So there you have it...now I need feedback. Kind words of suggestion and positive reinforcement tips are welcome :)

I did receive a friendly reminder from my co-worker (@wonderwoman916) when I expressed my concerns...

While this doesn't really pertain to the running form issue, it is a good reminder of what the overall focus of your workout should be. That being said, poor running form leads to injuries so I still need some good tips!

What was your workout routine today?
Have you ever had issues with your running form? How did you fix it? 

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