Saturday, 18 March 2017

I'm at the sharp end of the learning journey now.  Correcting the running style at speed is proving difficult!

The following conditions are true:
  1. Running easy, the style is fine, even whilst talking or day dreaming!
  2. Running at up to 5k race pace, either in training or whilst racing, is fine.
  3. Running faster than that (800m pace), in training, is fine.
  4. Running 800m pace, whilst racing, is *not* fine!
In other words, I can't race at those fast speeds (sub 3:00/km 4:45/mile), think about gait style, and the race tactics, at the same time (I never could multi-task).

Or, to put it another way, good style is not yet subconscious at those faster speeds.

When you race 800m, you are full-on concentration the entire time.  If your mind wanders for just one second, your competitors will have gained one or 2 meters, and your race is lost (you will expend too much energy accelerating to close that gap).

How do I know that my style suffers in 800m race conditions?

At the recent 2017 British Masters Indoor T&F National Championships 800m final, I was fortunate to have both still and moving images captured.  The remains of the over stride are clear to see (although I did get a number of compliments about looking stronger in the core - less bend at the waist).

I was doubly fortunate that Mr. Bateman watched and commented on what he saw! 

"1. Quite a sink and twist on landing 2. the arm across the chest (both sides) 3 the back foot sole facing the ceiling.  I find that if the back foot is stretched out then the front foot is landing too far ahead. Solution. Try keeping the back foot dorsi-flexed as it comes off the ground - this seems to 'shorten the wheel base' and create a better-aligned landing which in turn returns more elastic energy and increases the stride length.  Summary: have an experiment with dorsi-flexing your back foot on take-off."
(Thank you Keith, as always)

So as we approach the summer track & field season, I'm looking forward to really concentrating on the gait at high speeds.  There's plenty in the book about this, and I shall be hitting the "Keith's Game Changer" drill a lot, whilst concentrating on the dorsi-flexion. 

Finally, and for the third or 4th time, I refer back to the chart below.  I've ticked off that "5k pace" milestone.  And the "race pace" milestone is also there, but not subconscious yet.  This is my next aim!