Running Form

February 23, 2013

Saturday mornings that start with a long run, involve a lazy afternoon, and end with an evening hanging out with my husband is definitely a good day in my book.

I was hopeful things would go well during my run today, but I had my concerns. At the beginning of the week, I had no hamstring pain whatsoever, but for some odd reason, my hamstring has been giving me some problems since Wednesday—even when not running, which really worries me. It will twinge at random times throughout the day—while I am standing or sitting, for no apparent reason. It also didn’t feel 100% Thursday evening when I went for my 5 mile run, so needless to say I was nervous about today’s run.

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My hamstring did bother me a little during my run today, but thankfully I was still able to finish all 11 miles. Woohoo! When it was bothering me, I made sure to focus on my running form, which is something the physical therapist has been working with me on during our sessions. He had me change two things about my running form.

The first thing I am supposed to do is lean forward when running. I used to run with my torso very straight up and down; I had no idea this was incorrect. I always figured the best sitting and standing posture are tall and straight, so I figured that was the same with running. Come to find out, it is not. Instead, you are supposed to lean forward slightly.

Secondly, the physical therapist has me working on taking a smaller step/stride when running. Ideally you want your foot to land directly under your body—instead of stretched out in front. Technically, this is physically impossible, but you do want to have your foot as close to your body as possible. This results in more leg turnover per minute and a forefoot strike instead of a heel strike. Plus the shorter stride puts less stress on my hamstring.

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I was not aware of either of these two things. I guess I’ve never had anyone critique my form before, so I was glad to get some help. The physical therapist is trained in Chi Running, so I believe these form changes stem from that. It is amazing how much different I feel when running after making those two simple changes. I feel lighter and quicker on my feet. I don’t feel like I am pounding the ground, and I feel less stress on my body. I think eventually this will translate into faster times—that is once I can start seriously training again.

Overall, the 11 miles went well. I was cruising at first—hitting some miles right around 8:15 minutes/mile, which is good for me in the winter. I took half of this energy gel at mile 5.5 and the second half at mile 8.5. GU brand is still my favorite.

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This afternoon I had to go to the DMV since my license expires on my birthday in just a few short days. I had to wait an hour, which wasn’t too bad I thought. Luckily I was able to bring the computer and work on this blog post.

This evening Craig and I attended a chili cook-off for a church fundraiser, and now we are watching the movie Moneyball. Well, more like Craig is watching it while I work on the computer.

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Hope your weekend is swell.

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Question

What does your ideal Saturday involve?

9 Comments
    1. Yes! Those two form critiques are EXACTLY what I’ve read from books like Chi Marathon, anything by Chris McDougall, and ultra-marathoner Marshall Ulrich. I’m so encouraged by the fact that your professional reccomended these changes to your form! Hopefully, these adjustments will help us be pain-free runners for the rest of our lives!
      Ideal Saturday: coffee date (usually in my living room), cleaning and other productive household activities, and an outing with Peter. Last night he surprised me with a date to two great Portland brewpubs: Widmer and Bridgeport. Woo hoo!

    1. I recently heard about those changes in running stride too! Taking shorter strides was explained to me in terms of riding a bicycle – you should almost feel like your legs are pedaling the bicycle and pushing the ground back behind you. hopefully that makes sense? It’s kind of a hard concept to change but it works for me!

    1. I haven’t seen Moneyball. Was it good?
      Glad to hear you were able to finish your 11 miles without much trouble. It isn’t fun heading out with that nagging feeling that something might bother you!
      Sunny Saturdays are perfect when we don’t have to drive to Phoenix for soccer and we can lounge around together. On the other hand, going to Phoenix and watching Gabe play soccer is also perfect… I love watching him play. It’s also nice if Andrew has a play performance. It’s fun to celebrate the kids!

      1. Honestly, I didn’t really watch Moneyball, but it seemed pretty good and my husband said he liked it.

    1. that’s interesting about the running form. i have always thought standing tall was right…will have to try out that form.

      1. Yeah, I feel like I am propelling myself forward when leaning forward. (It is just a ‘slight’ forward lean.) It is weird to go back to standing up tall; I feel like I slow down.

    1. […] was due to the snow (although I don’t remember having this problem other winters) or the new running form I have adopted. Either way, my hamstrings feel like a million bucks today, so I am thinking it was […]

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