Trying to Run Better

Last week at the gym one evening, we watched a DVD showing some good runners, with commentary by a running coach, and then video of ourselves running. Dave pointed out that we are all heel-strikers, overreaching, landing solid on the foot and pushing off after losing momentum. It should be more of a short stride, a pedaling motion, picking up the foot the instant it lands–not crashing down, shifting weight and pushing off. The running coach in the first video said good runners run at 180 strikes per minute at any speed.
I went back to Seward Park the next night and warmed up, then used my cheapo pedometer and stopwatch to count strikes for a minute. I concentrated on short strides and made 175 strikes that first minute. Then I ran about the same distance I’d run the previous week, approximately three miles, and at the end I counted strikes for a minute again. Only 147–oops! Halfway decent form slips away when tired. It will be interesting to keep working on that.
Tonight I took my bike to Seward Park with a notebook and cyclometer to measure exactly 5K. I made detailed notes on where to stop after completing the loop, continuing on and passing the half-mile marker. From now on I’ll use that so my times on each run will be direct comparisons.
I stopped at Genessee Park next, where a gravel running trail goes around a big wild meadow. I’d heard there are pull-up bars along the trail, and there are, including a set of rings. I measured 200 meters from the pull-up bars in case Tom wants to take a kettlebell down there and do the “Helen” workout. He can run the 200 meters along the trail and back for the 400-meter runs.
It was a gorgeous, warm evening. I slowly meandered back up Lake Washington Boulevard, using the walking path to avoid being blown off the road by cars and cyclists in their Lance Armstrong costumes, going “Ding! Ding!” with their bells. “Important cyclist passing! Please make way!” Instead I was passed by a friendly person with long, curly hair, who called out “On your left!” sort of stiffly, I thought, then came up beside me when I moved over, and said, “It’s not often I get to pass somebody!” Funny! S/he had an average-looking mountain bike and was tooling along looking almost as aimless as I did. I was going like 7 mph.
Eventually I got back up to the Leschi section of the lakeshore, closer to where we live, so I measured 400 meters just in case I want to do some running down there. I doublechecked it, then realized I was at the foot of the steep, winding road up from the lake into our neighborhood. There are easier ways, but I was ready to be home, so I put it in the lowest gear and up I went. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, probably because I wasn’t trying to go fast at all. From the bottom to the hilltop at 29th and Yesler, I measured 1,250 meters. This metric measuring is fun!