Since the dawn of time, girl has learnt to run a mile from the less discerning caveman whilst simultaneously perfecting the art of outrunning her female competitor to those holy grail size 5s in the KG sale. Survival of the fastest is a daily reality. FACT.
However running with a certain poise and stamina is not so much a daily reality, at least not for this Girl on a Mission, so when I was offered a free running assessment from The Running School, I literally couldn’t sprint over their fast enough and what a revelation it was.
After two painless brief segments of running - one gently on a flat gradient and one slightly faster on an incline, Teri – Totally Terrific Head Coach and Manager of the Running School, and I, sat down to review and discuss the playback – and voila you can share in the fun also: (THANK YOU Teri)
1. The Curse of the “Shuffle Runner” – Apparently I’m not picking my heels up high enough behind me meaning that I’m effectively ONLY engaging my quads when I run and my hamstrings are getting a free ride – well that’s just not on LAZY old HAMSTRINGS – time to start pulling your weight – literally!! The fact that I’m only engaging half my leg muscles to run also partly explains why I’m finding running SOO knackering. (Although part of me has to admit that I don’t want to lose my rather prominent Quads as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them because they make me feel/look like an athlete – Vain, Moi? Never!)
2. Landing Gear – Here there are two main issues according to the Terrific Teri: one is that I’m landing both feet in the same central spot, rather than in a straight line directly under my hips. The other is that I need to learn to land my feet underneath my hips rather than in front of my body. If you relook at the side clip – ideally during my running gait there should be no space between my thighs during the running gait.
This is the one thing that I still don’t quite get – surely to move forward you need to place your feet in front of you? I think it has something to do with kicking your feet back more naturally propelling you further forward and so landing your feet under you creates a more stable base but PLEASE don’t quote me on it. Effectively the way I’m running and the angles I’m creating are putting pressure on my knees and shins etc. That explains the shin splint feeling.
3. Elvis Pelvis – To see this you need to look at the view of me running from the back. Effectively you can see my hips dropping from side to side when I land. Collapsing onto my pelvis like this is again creating unnecessary stress. The dropped hips on landing is a sign that I’m NOT engaging my glutes when I run. Don't blame me, blame my butt! But all this will change and in only six weeks of training, apparently my tush will be fatushed!! Not to mention the tush may well shrink in the process - eek! The glutes will be MIA no more.
4. The Swivel – This time an upper body default: Apparently I rotate my shoulders when I run which hinders my forward motion and effectively wastes energy. Really this is a self defence motion from years of checking out who is lapping me!!
Can’t see any of these flaws or want a better explanation and a deconstruction of your own running technique – well head over to The Running School and they’ll replay a clip of you running in slow mo and then it all suddenly becomes VERY clear!
As for me – well I’ve only got my legs, shoulders, arms, feet AND butt to sort out!! Thank goodness I’ve got the support, expertise and structure of a 6 week Running School Programme to get me on my way to top notch speed and running perfection. AND HOPEFULLY COMPLETING A 10KM RACE IN 55 MINUTES COME OCTOBER!!!!! Although Terri’s mention of “Homework” did make me feel a little queasy – even SuperChicks don’t give me Homework!!!
There’s also a 5th issue that I personally hope the course will help me overcome and that is “Embracing the Long Distance Run with a Smile.” Like Lucinda, I want to pull off looking relaxed and happy when I cross the finish line – I look so serious in this clip – mostly I think, I was feeling the pressure not to fall off the treadmill in front of a 12 year old boy also having a training session!!!
So Run, Forrest, Run! x
p.s. I was giving my colleagues a running demo in the office today complete with a breakdown of the Shuffle Runner Curse when one of my colleagues piped up that she’d been told that she runs like a Wounded Giraffe – LOVE IT!!! I’m sending her over to The Running School stat.