Taming the beast II: Or how I improved my running form

The Challenge

Back in January, I took the bull by the horns and sought some advice on my self-confessed, terrible running technique.  A pro-triathlete in Boulder, Kirk Nelson, took some time out to give me some needed advice on proper running technique and I documented it here in the Poppy Sports blog.

We looked at each aspect of my technique: arms, legs, head position, foot strike (shockingly, not that bad after all) and talked about running drills to speed up my pace. Armed with a bevy of tips on techniques: engaging arms more (just watch the pro racers and see how much they use their arms),  using high knees, and maintaining a faster cadence, I endeavored over the past months to commit to a better overall technique.

The newly focused running schedule involved treadmill workouts, shorter runs at a faster pace and living by the Garmin 305.  Did I mention I love my Garmin 305?  It was great to have a new goal and once again proved that a new challenge is a great way to keep motivated.

Success or not?

I intrepidly tried out my new pace at some races.  The first five miler was a rocking minute faster per mile than the previous year. Almost convinced this was a fluke, I was nervous for the Bolder Boulder 10k two weeks later.  Success!  Again, I was consistently running a minute faster per mile than 2010. Sweet!

Improve your running technique
Livin' the dream at the Bolder Boulder

I will also mention that my mileage was not any more than last year’s training, so I can only attribute the faster pace down to technique and mental realization that I actually can run faster than I thought.  I am excited to apply this to the summer triathlons to see if I can carry through the pace and place in my age group.

What did I learn? 

If you want to improve your running, take my lead and ask a friend or coach to video your running technique and see for yourself what you normally cannot. Visualizing the technique really does help and applying that mental aspect with some regular training can does pay dividends.  It’s not rocket science, but when you actually witness your times coming down, it almost makes you believe you have found the holy grail!

Have you made improvements to your running technique?  How did you succeed?  We’d love to know.