Usually runners spend five full months preparing to run a marathon. For me, these past five months have dealt with running metrics. Why? Since discovering running over five years ago, I have always found ways to improve and run well. However, running a considerable amount of mileage can take a toll on the body. This is multiplied if runners lack the strength and conditioning needed to run. Though I’ve always conditioned my body for the impact of running, I felt like I needed a tune-up after passing the 10,000 mile mark in my running. This led me to look into the study of biomechanics. By immersing myself, I acquired a wealth of information that is currently helping my running. It has led me to enhance my coordination and precision while exercising. Though I’m still a work in progress, I now have the clarity needed to tackle my running goals.
Upgrading my running form felt similar to when I studied classical guitar in college. I played well, but found a whole new world of information when I studied formally. Unbeknownst to me, I developed minor flaws in my technique that I needed to rectify in order to make each note count. Moreover, if musicians have to learn the proper way to play their respected instruments, then running is a skill that needs proper attention. In studying running metrics, I studied the variables of an optimal gait cycle. Although it’s nearly impossible to achieve perfect form, I’m at least aware of the common issues that cause injury or inefficiency throughout a period of time. Hence, the goal is not to solely focus on form for its own sake, but to focus on how to make running more manageable.
Understanding biomechanics is tricky because the gait cycle is hard to conceptualize. Admittedly, I’m even having a tough time writing this post. It takes a well-trained eye to see possible hiccups that cause muscle compensations. These can lead to injury and wasted energy while running. Though it is not intuitive, I studied the model. I sought to make a cautious effort to see how I could improve. Strength training with specific weight lifting helped my body absorb the increased force associated with running faster. I made a point of exercising controlled movement with my body. In improving my gait, I used a series of drills to help improve my coordination. I also implemented strides at the end of my runs. While running these strides, I would focus on a specific cue in my running gait rather than the pace.
I read many different sources and evaluated how to implement these ideas the right way. I also avoided any proprietary systems of running. Although these authors might have good intentions, to subscribe to just one system might confine a runner’s potential and understanding. Ideally, one should gather many resources while developing the wisdom to know which ones to use at a given time. Thus, I chose not to limit myself to one box of thinking. I initially started to see some of the fruits of my labor after ten weeks. Although I’m still working on fixing some weaknesses in my body, I am excited to start incorporating specific running workouts in 2020.
You might ask, “What is the goal of this research and discovery?” For me, I wanted to find the most effective way to utilize free elastic energy. Summed up, I want to run quickly while keeping the energy cost low. I set my framework for 2019 to run fast without running hard. Although I knew a lot of these principles before, I have now arrived at a new level of understanding how everything comes together. In my five years of running, I’ve observed that many will focus solely on developing the aerobic engine without working on the chassis. However, high speeds require more force, which requires more stabilization from the body. Further, I needed to make sure I could optimize the horsepower in my own engine. In retrospect, I’m pleased at my patience and progress in this endeavor. Soon, I’m looking forward to shifting my focus to my upcoming marathon in April 2020.