It's kind of funny (but not that much) that it's been six months since my last training- or race-related post. I figured it just wasn't that interesting.
Nevertheless, here goes:
I'd never given much thought to running style. The goal is to put one foot in front of the other real fast; how many different ways could there be? By the end of last season I was tired (no pun intended) of being slow, so I began my search for the Holy Grail of running advice. Maybe I could find a little nugget of wisdom to transform me.
I found such a nugget. Apparently my legs were not moving fast enough. Seriously. It sounds so simple, but in essence it is much faster and easier over the long run (seriously, enough with the puns) to shorten your stride and quicken your step, minimizing the amount of time your feet spend on the ground. They say to aim for 90 steps per foot per minute. Picture one of those little desert lizards with short little legs, scuttling along on the sand.
And how do I run? I lumber. My feet land like dead weights on the pavement and don't pick up again until I'm about to fall forward. My stride isn't long, but that's only because I'm 5'4". My steps per minute were only about 80.
Like the elite athlete I am, I tried out this new technique, improved a little, and then got lazy and forgot about it. I was reminded by a post on Beginner Triathlete this week, describing his massive improvements once his stride count was up to 90. "Oh yeah! That's supposed to work!", I remembered.
I went out and tried it today. And I felt like a fool. Ninety steps per minute are some short-ass steps, I'll tell you what. I didn't know my stubby little legs could rotate that fast. But at the end of the run, my heart rate was down and my time was decent. So I'll try it again and see how it goes.
That is, until I forget.