I’m really happy with this race photo – taken by Renee Price at 13.1 miles into the Boulder Marathon. It’s not the old man, fleshy double chin that makes me happy, rather the position of my feet – toes pointed downward. That’s good running form. This demonstrates I’m not over striding and landing on my heels. For me to be maintaining such perfect form half way through a marathon leaves me pretty impressed with myself. The goal of my ultra distance training miles this summer was to promote optimal calorie consumption during a marathon; a bonus benefit was to my running form. It wasn’t always obvious while running long miles so slowly, but repetition is the key to learning.
I began working on my form three years ago in an attempt to remedy plantar fasciitis. I shortened my stride, easier said than done. I even trained sometimes in minimalist shoes to promote a shorter stride and frontal footfalls. Haven’t worn those in a long time – they come with their own set of issues. The benefit of good running form isn’t just that it leads to running faster. More importantly it helps mitigate risk of injury. And I’ve been injury free for a couple of years now.
The benefit of being injury free isn’t only continued enjoyment of a favorite hobby, it enables continuous improvement. My speed improvements are marginal, but I can’t begin to describe how satisfying it feels to progressively perform faster as I advance in age through my fifties. This photo captures me running along the irrigation ditch trail at 10 miles into the marathon – 3 miles before the previous pic. It displays my left foot landing a bit turned outward. I’m aware of this lapse in form (from race photos) but don’t seem to be able to correct it. My right foot lands fine.
My next training focus might be hills. The Denver Marathon in October is entirely uphill. What sort of nut job race director charts out a marathon course completely up hill? At altitude? Who does that? It looks like maybe miles 3 and 13 might be downhill. The course runs up an apparent 90 foot cliff at mile 9. I have a month to prepare.
I’m looking at some other events as well. This fall weather is just too perfect not to enjoy outdoors. There’s the Jamestown Juggernaut Trail Half Marathon, October 3rd. It includes a separate 2.5 mile, 1200 foot vertical hill climb – speaking of hill workouts. The next day is the Blue Sky Trail Marathon in Fort Collins. The options are never ending. Comment with some suggestions. What are you planning to run this fall?