Shortly after running the Annapolis Half Marathon in November, 2013, I signed up to have my running form evaluated – through the Montgomery County Road Runner Club Stride Clinic. In my mind, my running technique wasn’t “too bad”, though likely needed improvement. What I discovered, is that I have a LOT to learn.
First let me say that the MCRRC Stride Clinic was EXCELLENT, and any runner who wants to improve their running & reduce injury potential should consider making the $30 dollar investment for 1 hour of feedback from a team of experts. Here is how the stride clinic works.
- You sign up in advance
- You show up at your designated time slot
- Run on a treadmill for 5 minutes while your clinician continues to up the speed
- Your running form is evaluated under different speeds
- You think your form is especially good that moment
- Then you are asked to run at your fastest speed while attempting to butt-kick
- You discover in one brief moment, that you can run faster, lean forward, and strike mid-foot – all while kicking up those heels higher (i.e. butt kicking)
- I sound like an elephant pounding the ground
- I AM the dreaded heel striker
- My cadence is too slow
- I do not butt kick at all
- I stand upright
- All of my ground forces are bouncing back at my joints
- My upper body is too rigid
- My shoulders schlump like a 90 year old
- and I’m moving my arms from the elbows and not from the shoulders
- I am not relaxed from the waist up
And there’s more. You meet with a physical therapist, massage therapist and shoe expert. My shoes, which have over 1500 miles, apparently should have been retired at mile 350. Who knew? It’s amazing I’ve even called myself a runner. So this year I commit to learning more and becoming a better runner. My stride clinic gave me a long laundry list to correct…but by incorporating changes one at a time – I’m looking forward to remaking my stride.
- Don’t sit more than 15 min at any time – get up and stand your backside to a wall for a few minutes to re-calibrate posture
- Practice butt kicking – a little at a time
- Practice swinging arms from the shoulders. It’s called relaxing.
- Add Yoga to my weekly regimen
- Improve my flexibility…lots of stretching!
- And rotate shoes to the graveyard after 350 miles!