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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)

20140105_062749So, my current form reveals

  • 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 20140105_062840stride 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!