Thursday, 24 May 2007 09:52
Written by Staff
Before you start, make sure your gear is up to snuff. Ken Friesen of Stride Ahead Sports, one of the local sponsors of the big race, says to start at your feet. If you’re new to running, he says to make sure you purchase shoes from someone who knows what they’re talking about. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to assess your foot and determine what kind of support you need.
Friesen also suggests buying a shoe specifically designed for running, not a cross trainer. As for the rest of your gear, he would opt for clothing that wicks away moisture. Your old cotton T-shirt might be comfy, but it will get wet, heavy and start to chafe if you wear it to run in. Most good running outfits are designed to be moved in and sweated through. Luckily, almost every sport company, from Adidas to Nike to The North Face makes clothes specially for outdoor pursuits like running or biking.
If you’re going to run with music, thinka bout ditching the cumbersome CD player (it’s going to skip anyway), and invest in an iPod or other MP3 player. The new iPod shuffle is just 1.62 inches long and clips to your shirt so you don’t even need an arm band.
You could just show up on race day and hope for the best, or you could devise and follow a training plan. If you choose the latter, the experienced runners at the Manitoba Marathon have intermediate and advanced training plans on their website at manitobamarathon.mb.ca. If you want the camaraderie and motivation of a group training session, Stride Ahead offers clinics for beginner walkers up to full marathon runners. Call them at 781- 4075 or 477-4975 for more information.
There are some pretty bizarre running styles out there—you know you’ve seen it at the gym or the track. Make sure you’re running right with these basic tips for running efficiently and correctly from Manitoba Marathon.
Stay Upright: Good running posture is simply good body posture. When the head, shoulders and hips are all lined up over the feet you can move forward as a unit, with minimum amount of effort.
Head: Your torso will normally do what your head is doing. So if you are dropping your head right down, your torso will probably follow and lean too far forward. Your eyes should be focused on a target 10-20 feet ahead.
Chest Forward: Many runners let their chest sag into a slouch. In such a position, lungs won’t maximize their efficiency. Before starting your run, relax and take deep breaths, which moves the lungs into an efficient position.
Arms: Any excessive side-to-side motion, or swinging across your body is a waste of energy. Try to think of everything moving in a straight line and in one direction: forward. Keep your elbows in and bring your arms up in a straight motion. Hands should be relaxed and loosely cupped.
Hips Forward: One of the most common running form errors is letting the hips shift back and the butt stick out behind you. Taking a deep breath often pulls the hips forward into an alignment that allows easier running. This is the home of your centre of gravity. Try running with your hips forward. Pretend as if you have a rope tied around your waist and someone is pulling you forward with it.
The Foot Plant: There is a difference between what should happen and what you may be able to control. Your personal stride is the result of your shape, your physique and the strength and balance of your muscles, at least all the way up to your waist! Please do not try and change your foot plant as you train. You will not be running naturally, and you are very likely to cause more problems than you solve. As you gain fitness and strength you may notice that many irregularities resolve themselves. Regardless of how you plant your foot, you can try to plant it directly under your body and your centre of gravity. Try running with a quick cadence of 90 steps. Simply count the number of times that your left foot strikes the ground in one minute. It will feel strange at first, but if you practice enough it will become second nature. Practice: A few times per week remind yourself of proper running form! You will be surprised by the difference it makes to your running efficiency and overall relaxation.