One of the measures I have tried is incorporating some of the concepts from the book, ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer (with Katherine Dreyer).
Yes, it looks like this married Dreyer couple collaborated on this book together, which I always find really sweet and cool! On a related note, in a semi-serious manner, I started the following conversation (may not be verbatim, but close enough) recently:
"The Ukrainian": Where is your blog?
Me: On the Internet. [Yes, I deserved to be smacked with that response.]
"The Ukrainian": Aww, you don't want me to see your blog.
Me: But you'll think I write bad, and I mention things in there like having to use the potty in the middle of a race... [pause] I'll show it to you... eventually.
"The Ukrainian": 'Eventually' means 'never.'
Me: A lot of bloggers' spouses or significant others don't read the others' blogs...[pause]... although some of them do guest posts.... [long pause] Would you like to write for my blog?
Anyway, that was a tangent. Back to ChiRunning.
ChiRunning is an attempt to blend some Tai Chi principles with running to make running effortless and injury-free. Given my history, I dove into the book and started incorporating some of the concepts as I started running again after my marathon of horror in June.
For starters, this book talks about running form and how to be efficient at it. While I probably should not spill all the beans, here are the top five things to which I am trying to adapt my form:
- Lean in using your ankles, not waist, to increase speed efficiently.
- Relax shoulders and imagine the motion of your arms going like a wheel.
- Keep the lower legs limp. Huge calf muscles are not key (they referenced Kenyan runners to illustrate this point).
- Strike with the mid-foot, not the heel.
- Swing your legs back, also going a wheel motion.
Alone, these adjustments might sound strange, but various diagrams like the one above and exercises help illustrate the concepts.
Finally, the book also contains tidbits about habits such as eating, sleeping, race morning, diet, and everything else that ultimately can affect your running. For example, it says to keep a diet of 15 to 25% fats, 60 to 70% carbohydrates, and 15 to 20% proteins. Look at all those carbs... I can live with that!
Two points of disagreement, though:
- No eating before a race?: The book claims that you won't absorb or digest anything that quick, but what about GUs?
- Cross training is unnecessary?: Runners risk injury by training muscles they won't need to run. I don't buy that. That means the minute I do anything besides running, a lack of cross training would injure me, anyway.
While I am no master at this running technique, I have been able to at least better learn how to not aggravate my still-imperfect legs during my runs by adhering to some of the form guidelines in this book. I definitely recommend at least giving the book a read... it's around 200 pages and a quick read.