Running like a doofus
WM and I were chatting about running today. I’m not a “runner,” but I run, and I actually cooked up my running philosophy:
On running, I would say that unless you’re running at some ridiculously low pace, then it’s all good for you. What I stress more and more is good form. When I was a student at CC, I trained for and ran a 10K one summer. I did terribly given how fit I was in many ways, running it in something like 45 minutes. What I did wrong was run like a doofus. I had that long, loping stride of the high school jock. I learned it running sprints and 400m in high school track. Great for speed and finishing races, but exhausting and inefficient. It also caused excruciating pain in my hips.
I run with less pain, and faster, as a 40 year-old man than as a CC student–despite illness, injury, and age–because I run much smarter. I learned my “new” stride when I was doing dryland training for speedskating in St. Louis. I trained with a woman who was in her mid-40s, had had three children, and she smoked, I mean just smoked (figuratively, of course–she was a health nut), everyone else in terms of fitness, speed, you name it. Her running stride was short, economical, and her feet barely left the ground, but she flew. I’ve run that way ever since, and it’s now completely natural. I extend as far as I can in front (much less taxing, since your landing is cushioned by your leg muscles, rather than absorbed by your hips/knees), and as soon as my foot begins to leave the surface at the end of the stride, I kick it right back through. No classic high “kick” to the rear as is taught for finishing races to generate speed, no wasted bouncing or plodding. My shoulders are back, and I never hunch over. I’ve never felt so comfortable running, and that’s even on a surgically repaired knee that is cranky beyond belief. A textual description is probably a weird way to tell someone how you run.