Pay Attention to What You Look Like As You Run

January 26th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I think most of us regular non-competitive runners probably have the same response to this one.  I think the response is something along the lines of “hey; I’m out there and I get the job done before I go home and take a shower.  You want me to care about how I LOOK while I’m running?!  You’re crazy.”

Let me clarify: I don’t care what you look like aesthetically, I care what your body looks like as you run.

I saw a lady last night on my way home after teaching bootcamp who I admit I’m not sure was jogging or power walking.  She was working, though, and had a pretty impressive gait. 

It just wasn’t really designed very well for what I presume she was trying to accomplish.

She swayed her hips so far left to right she looked like she was dancing.  It was actually pretty cool—I knew I’d have fun if we went out dancing together!

But she was expending a lot of energy in directions different than she intended by swaying side to side as she moved forward. 

If the straightest point from A to B is a straight line, it follows that any lateral movement would make that line literally wiggle.  A wiggly line is not the straightest point nor the most efficient or economical.

Paying attention to your form as you run tells you how efficiently you are running.  If we are all secretly lazy bums at heart, we care about efficiency!  (Why work harder than we have to if it won’t get us anything more?)

I know when I run I hunch my shoulders and widen my elbows as I get tired.  I know this because years ago I belonged to the Y where they had treadmills inches from the mirrors and I spent hours running into myself.  I paid attention.  (There wasn’t much else to do aside from watch Crazy Running Girl knock out several miles on her treadmill as she trained for Boston.  Little did I know I would soon be a lot like Crazy Running Girl myself!  But not as fast; maybe as crazy though.  Your call.)

So I know that in order to maximize my investment of my energy expenditure as I tire out, I need to tighten that up: elbows in, arms moving forward and back rather than side to side.  Relaxing and pulling my shoulders back and standing up straight with impeccable posture.  Opening my lungs to facilitate air flow. 

Ha; it all sounds sooo easy as I type.  Talk to me at mile 23.

(If you’re interested in what the experts say, check out Runner’s World: The Perfect Form.  It gives great pointers and things to think about.)

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