Thursday, June 23, 2011

Something, Something, Something, Something...Evidence!

WARNING: The following post comtains MATH! If these excerpts bore you, simply imagine the teacher from "Peanuts" is talking and move on. It gets better. I promise!

I am starting to understand the math behind running. Before I started playing golf, I was amazed when a friend instantly knew the par for a course after someone told him how many par 3s and 5s there were. Now that I have played some golf, I know that many courses are par 72 with 6 each par 3s, 4s, and 5s. 4x18=72 so as long as the 3s and 5s are equal you get 72. If there are more threes it is less than 72 etc.

Now I am starting to get that same mathematical sense about running. I was supposed to do 5x1000 repeats at a 7:28 pace this week. I figured the best way to do that (besides my uncanny inner running clock) would be to time 200m splits. So 7:28 is 32 sec under 8:00 so each lap would be 8 sec under 2 min and every 200 needed to be 4 sec under one. So my splits needed to be something:56, something:52, something:48, something:44, and something:40. Conveniently that got me to 4:40 per 1000 which is exactly what my little chart said as well. Not to mention that, even at that pace I could count backwards by 4s. There is a lot of math I CAN'T do wile I run (so I have learned) so this little bit of elementary school subtraction was just enough mental stimulation to keep me from realizing I was running more than 2.5 min per mile faster than my first 5k and only 10 sec per mile slower than my 5k PR pace.

Now all of this is evidence that that I am learning new math (the running variety) AND getting faster. My track work is paying off big time. I still don't think I have "unleashed the beast" within, but I have turned a corner for sure. What started out as some tinkering with form and desire to run faster has turned into an obsession with speed, "the plan" (I like to stick to the plan), and the science of running faster.

Now, being a running nerd in search of running ubernerd status, I know enough not to say that everyone should try to change their form. Hoverer, I do believe that everyone CAN improve their form. To use another golf analogy (and I promise this one won't be so boring), everyone tinkers a little bit wih their swing. By "tinker" I mean things like, "put a little more weight on the inside of your right foot" or "keep your right elbow in". These "swing thoughts" can help immensely (at least for a few shots until the beers and/or bloody maries start kicking in).

Running is no different. I have "stride thoughts" like "lean forward from the ankles up", "head steady", "wide shoulders/arms parallel", "knees up", "don't reach", "faster tempo", "more effort/push", "feet behind you", "smooth", "you're the f#cking man" get the picture. Now of course I don't think all these things at once. In the same way that that many thoughts would result in a recipe for disaster in golf, trying to do all of those things at the same time would guarantee that you would do none of them.

So based on my entirely unscientific sample size of one, I have proven that you can improve your form and in the process run faster easier.

For anyone who has stuck with me this long, you are probably wondring about the title of this post. If not, you recognized it from "Weeds" inthe episode where Uncle Andy joins the Army and his buddy gets hit in the chest with some kind of missile/drone shortly after they record each other lighting their farts on fire with their Army-issue cell phone/missile target.

The end.

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