Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bouncing Back

Devil wind this morning in Tucson, which made for an uncomfortable recovery run on the full Slow Down loop. It was one of those days that found me alternately sweating or freezing depending on which direction I was running, but looking at what others are facing this time of year I can't really complain. The job today was to get myself feeling good again after what turned into a hard workout yesterday.

I tried focusing on technique at slower speeds today, borrowing from an old article on running form by Bill Bowerman and some advice from Gordon Pirie (both kindly forwarded on by the coach). I'm working on keeping my hips and body in line over my legs, and I'm fighting over exactly the right way to land. I find when I land with my knee bent a little I wind up off my heel a bit and a little more mid-foot, which does tend to help me spend less time with my feet on the ground. Bowerman and Pirie are at odds with each other on footstrike, with Bowerman indicating that a light heel strike is natural while Pirie argues it is never acceptable. Lydiard and Bowerman certainly seem more in agreement with each other on form, with more of an emphasis on a straight-legged and forceful push-off. While they both write about "running tall", it's interesting to note Pirie's analysis that a runner with proper form will often appear to look shorter than other runners with incorrect form but of the same stature. Fun stuff.

Training: 8 miles, 54:02, 6:48 pace


Abadabajev said...

yes Gordon said to lower body and have hips in line. And yes, you appear shorter. This way, the energy is spent going forward and not bouncing.

I'm glad, you read that article. Tons of info in it.

Mike said...

Abadabajev, I'm still only half-way through it. You're right, it is chuck full of good stuff. He seems quite adamant about never landing on the heel though (even lightly), which is something both Bowerman and Lydiard say is inevitable to some extent. His argument of standing still on your forefeet then taking a walking step illustrates his point though- you don't land on your heel.

Mystery Coach said...

One quick thing to point out is that during Gordon Pirie's era shoes were build with very little heel lift. Arthur being a shoe maker added some lift and Bill Bowerman's (a shoe tinkerer himself) article was written when running shoes started having significant heel lift.

Take out you racing flats, you'll see your foot strike being further toward the mid-foot. Now imagine adding a 3/4 inch lift to the heel and now the strike will be back toward the heel.

Some original shoes like Converse actually had the forefoot a little higher than the heal. Most of Adidas original shoes (Gazelles with Kangaroo uppers) had at most a 1/4 inch lift.

So when Gordon said never land on the heel think in terms of being barefoot ( or try a pair of Nike Frees to get the same feel)