Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Am I a running Cliff Claven?

"Well ya see Nahmy...the Kenyans practically invented tempah trainin'. Ya know that's really why they run so fast. Some people say it's the bay-ah feet, but it's the tempah trainin'." Is that what I sound like when I talk about running? I know I have only been running for a few years and I'm not an exercise physiologist, but I have read a few books and many articles in the past few years. That combined with my personal (albeit limited) experience has led me to believe in a few running absolutes. The first of these is that everything I first thought I knew about running was absolutely wrong.

In my high school PE class, we ran a mile every day to this day I don't remember if my best was 5:30 or 6:30. I just remember that I ran with 2 little twin brothers who were on the cross country team. They were running easy but still the fastest in the class. I was 6'1" and about 135 pounds and even though I wasn't super active in high school, I had played soccer for years and was still pretty quick. Now, 20 years later with a best magic mile just under 7:00, I think it was 6:30 but I might still tell you 5:30.

Anyway, one of the track coaches told me I had a good stride. This was most likely not true. I had a long stride and an easy gait, but I was swinging my legs like I was on a NordicTrack, pushing off with my toes, and heel striking. Basically I had converted my marching band "glide step" to a running version. From a distance it probably did look good. I looked relaxed, my head was hardly moving up and down at all, and I was going relatively fast.

Jump forward 20 years. I have now somehow run a marathon. Then I start reading some things about form - some articles specifically about it and other blurbs here and there. Then I go to my favorite running store planning on replacing my shoes. We do the TM video thing and I talk about how I'm trying to land more on my midfoot (which I had been doing somewhat successfully for my last few runs). We hit he sidewalk outside for a little instruction from the staff and I realize that I was a clueless, mustacioed, Bostonian, postal worker sitting on a bar stool thinking I knew everything about running.

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