When I was running last weekend’s Day before Mother’s Day Half Marathon, I had a lot of time to think about a few things. It’s one of the fringe benefits of being a slower runner…
Looking around at some the different running styles, it got me thinking about how people try to go fast. The 5k, 10k and half all started at the same time so I got to see a lot of folks “powering”their way down the parkway.
I’m a bit biased with my ChiRunning as I find form is key to being efficient in the long run but I saw so many folks running at my speed but working so much harder at it. I really hoped the lady that I could hear breathing from 10 feet away wasn’t running the half as I would have had to flag the paramedics (she wasn’t). That being said, I’ve been holding back way too much since I started moving up in distances.
A great illustration of the form vs engine is swimming. When I first started, I could go fairly fast but my range was very limited as I was winded after a few lengths. I haven’t gotten much faster but now I can keep that speed for much longer due to a more energy-efficient stroke. A lot of people think of swimming as technical but they don’t realize that running is quite similar.
To be world class, you definitely need both. If you look at top runners, they all have similar form and training schedules. What sets them apart are the little things which are usually lost to the average runner. So what gets you at the top of local races?