Friday, July 06, 2007

The stride debate

Well, it's an internal debate, actually.

Fran's post a few days ago about strides got me thinking. He's taking this approach here:

I did the 8 strides around a track in the middle of the run. I really tried to focus on leg turnover rather than just pumping my legs and arms to run faster. I hardly had any arm swing at all. I found that by doing this the strides were easier. It caused me to be more efficient with my running which allows me to run faster at a faster pace.
I've only really started to run them with the Pfitzinger program and I've been taking cues that it's running fast, but not to the point that you're sprinting. On my last stride sessions, I concentrated on quick leg turnover while gaining speed for 80 metres, then coasting.. I think I read it somewhere. I believe my arms were swinging as I was going from a jog, to a run, and then to a near sprint.

Fran's post suggests there are a few ways around this and I'm even more interested in seeing how other people do them. A quick search on Google didn't really find much, so I turned to an friend/ex-colleague and (in my eyes) a star runner. In his college days, he was a specialist in the shorter track distances, so he's a speedster but who's also done long distances at very fast paces. I watched him speed away from me in an 8k race earlier this year. And he also ran a mile race in 5:25 a few weeks ago.. That's 3:21 km pace if you're counting.. anyways, runcoach, as i'm calling him, and I had this email exchange:

    Me: On strides.. I’m doing the pete pfitzinger training program, which includes LT runs, V02s and some general aerobic with 10x100 strides, to get you used to running fast. There are a few schools of thought: 1) get your number of strides per minute closer to 180 or 2) just practice running fast.. I guess strides are not the same as sprinting because that’s a whole different type of running..

    runcoach: Oh, I get it. ... strides. Okay, here's my thinking on that. Strides are not about max speed, rather it is about being relaxed and reaching a speed at which your arms and legs are moving in concert together. You shouldn't overstride, which means straining, rather find a cadence in which you feel yourself accelerate then maintain a speed without straining. Probably ends up being 75 per cent of max, but you learn to carry your speed in a relaxed state. This is key. As you get faster, your arms and legs move together with your arms dictating your cadence.

    Me: you should be a running coach. I see what you’re saying and I think it’s the cadence that I’m looking for.. Xxx footsteps a minutes.. I think the criticism of most (recreational) runners is that we tend to have too long strides and too few per minute so we’re not as efficient.. Any tricks to getting your arms and legs moving on concert and on how to alter your form to get the correct stride length (varies per person I’m sure).

    runcoach: Another key is to start on your toes, hips up and stay tall, this is made more difficult by weak abs and core.

So the point is not to sprint, but to get the feel, or cadence... Any other thoughts or tips would be great...

This weekend, the weather is heating up big time. In fact, Sunday will be hotter than Saturday. So the initial plan is to switch my 13 miler to tomorrow and push the recovery 5 milers to Sunday. At some time this summer, I will have to tough it out, but for as long as I can, will run at smart times...


Arcane said...

Try doing a search on google video for "pose running" and you'll see a bunch of videos that use this method that concentrate on turnover. You'll see that they hardly swing their arms. I think with faster turnover, your arms don't have time to pump up or down.

yumke said...

Thanks Fran.. interesting to watch the video... Not sure I want to alter my running form, but I know it needs improvemnet.. I've been trying to work on positioning my body better (straight)..