I used to have good form. I swear. Over the years it had gotten pretty bad, but mostly when I started running again in January of 2011. It was at its worst between CIM and the Eugene Marathon. I tried to find a better example of what my terrible form looked like, but this was the best I could come up with (bad form picture on the left).
Bad form VS Improved form
The picture on the left is from the 5K that I ran the last February (click here for race recap). It just so happens to be my 5K PR at 20:21. As you can see from the picture my shoulders are very hunched. What you can’t see is how much upper body movement I had going on. You can ask Matt- it was pretty bad! You should be able to cross your arms like you are hugging yourself and run in a straight line. I couldn't do that and almost fell off the TM in my physical therapist’s office when he tried to make a point to how bad my form was.
The picture on the right is from this last week. My form still has a long ways to go in terms of improvement, but it is already looking a million times better. You can tell how much more relaxed my upper body is. My face looks funny because I was yelling at Mr. Healthy Diva to go away and stop taking pictures of me running. Haha.
I am proof that even an awful heel striker can become a forefoot runner. It takes a lot of work & dedication, but it can be done. I think that I might have the most patient coach in the world to endure the last 5 months with me. Thanks Matt!!!!!
Ouch! Look at that heel strike!!!! Also notice the "swinging" arms? This was from the Girlfriends 1/2 marathon in October 2011 where I was 8th female overall, 1st place AG. (Click here for race recap).
How did I improve my form and start forefoot running VS the heel striking? It was a lot of hard work, but consisted of physical therapy (2-3 times per week) and drills that Matt created for me. I am thankful that Matt not only is the best coach in the world, but he is also an exercise physiologist so he knows his stuff. He is so smart that he is an exercise physiology professor at Whitworth University in Spokane. How did I get so lucky?!
Here are links to all of my drills in case you are curious......
Even to this day I still do everything listed in those previous blog posts. These are drills and stretches that I will probably continue forever because they have helped me a lot. Matt said that he even still does most of them. He finds that he gets injured when he does't do the warm up and stretching portions. For someone who has run a marathon faster than me and competes in IM competitions, I will trust his word.