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Running Roadrunner Style

Believe it or not, cartoons can teach you something about running.

Ross and I met with our coach to work on our running form (again). This is something I am all about ~ working on form. Since correct form = efficiency and efficiency = yielding a better end product with less work, I am all about improving my form. Not to mention the desire to be more efficient (read: do less work) was a primary motivator in having a coach. I can run and run and run, but that doesn't mean I am going to necessarily get any faster unless I change something.

So, we met today and went for a little jog. And along the way, he was reiterating a number of things that we had talked about before and some new things. For 2 hours straight it was running form 101 and practice... with the help of some inventive aids, but we will save those for a different post.

From what I have learned, with running, you use your power to get going, but after that, it is a matter of keeping the momentum going by pushing along the ground with your feet. Make sense? Maybe not (at least the way I am explaining it). But look at these pictures of runners:Notice what they all have in common? Their feet are not touching the ground. They are all just gliding through the air, using their feet to tap the ground and push them forward. Now there is the theory, here is the form part I learned.

Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner

Ever wonder how that dang bird out runs the coyote EVERY time? Think about it. A roadrunner can run up to the speed of 17 mph while a coyote can run up to 30 mph. So why does the coyote never get the bird (other than for the storyline)? It lies in the form of how they run (or, at least, that is what I like to believe).

Here is roadrunner:
See that ellipse behind him? How the roadrunner has a lean forward and basically his feet are just pushing him along. That is what makes him go faster. (That, and the animation, of course.)

Now take a look at our friend the coyote:

Coyote is pretty straight up with some lean forward, but not barely the amount of the roadrunner. With Coyote's posture, his legs are more underneath him instead of behind him, like the roadrunner. He is not allowing his body to take him forward and, by being more straight up, he is stopping himself in a way.

Try it. Run. Now, while running, lean forward, you will automatically speed up.

So, that's what I have got to shoot for. That and a number of other things that I need to do to improve my form, but that was the one that I thought could illustrate best and the best "a-ha" moment I have for you right now.


Alicia said...

Has your coach talked about shortening your stide, landing more mid-foot instead of heel strike and allowing more kick up in the back after you push off?

Randi said...

Hey Alicia, just saw this, so sorry for the delay. Yes, that is something we have talked about. My stride isn't too long, but Ross' is, so we have covered that. When you strike with your heel, it is like you put on the "brakes" transfer our weight (hence, put a lot of undue pressure on your knee) and then push off. Running mid foot and kicking up behind is more efficient like you said (and like the roadrunner). Working on it... :)