Saturday, May 7, 2011

#323: Running Like Water.

6.88 miles

Ran longer and farther than I have ever run in my life. I'm not sure when I last WALKED 6.8 miles! And I feel fantastic. Not sore. not exhausted. Fantastic. This is why I run. This feeling.

Came home feeling so stoked that I registered for my next 5K, a race sponsored by the single A Lexington Legends to support the arts here in town. That will be May 28th. I should be in killer shape by then, ready to bust a new personal best. Man, I feel so high right now!

Among other things, today's run proves to me that I really can finish a 10K. Of course, I hope to do it in a little bit better time than this, but now I know I can do it. Bluegrass 10,000, here I come.

Tried an experiment today. I've been reading about running form. The most common advice is not to worry too much about it. Your body pretty much knows how to run. Of course, modern life tends to obscure our instincts with bad conditioning and bad habits, so a little attention can't hurt. What I've been able to glean is:
  • Run Tall. Keep your back straight, not hunched over. This reduces strain on your whole body and even helps you to breath more efficiently.
  • Shuffle Your Feet. A high knee lift and big back kick just waste energy. Keep your feet low to the ground.
  • Keep a short stride. Whether you land on your heel, your mid foot, or your toes, your foot should strike the ground below your center of gravity, not way out ahead of you. This reduces wear on your knees and hips, and eliminates the breaking effect of landing with your foot out in front.
  • Keep moving forward. Bobbing your head. Bouncing up and down. Swinging your arms across your body. Even clenching your fists or your jaw. All these things use energy that has nothing do to with moving from back here to up there.
That's a lot to think about, so many runners suggest using a mantra, a short word or phrase that lets your mind motivate and guide your body in the right direction. Of the ones I found, my favorite is one borrowed from Bruce Lee. "Be Water."
So that's how I tried to run. like water. I tried to flow, to glide along the road. I don't suppose I looked much like I was flowing. But from time to time, that's how I felt. Without going through the whole checklist of what good form is, I was able to use this image to find it. Very cool. Sort of like the affective memory exercises that they taught me in acting class.

How about that? I'm turning into a Method Runner!


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