Health & Safety

October 11, 2013

Fit for Life – Improve running with attention to pace, form

David Charles “Chazz” Owen

The most widely practiced and recognized form of cardio is running. It was probably your first means of real play as a child. The military requires it for those not limited by temporary or congenital illness/injury.

Over the years, I routinely heard those who hated running say it had nothing to do with their ability to perform military duties, for they never ran “to” or “from” a fight. But my experiences were those uniformed warriors who could max or exceed their service fitness tests, or post stellar distance running times often were mentally and physically tough as well.

I focused a number of years on running distances from the 5K through the marathon, and loved it. The mental toughness and ability to manage pain while regulating paces made me a better athlete, and it was something I could do anywhere, anytime and in any environment. But most view it as something they have to endure.

Nothing in this column will make you like it if you don’t already, but we can explore some of the reasons why many people hate it and ways we’ve used to help those new to running (or just returning after injury) improve.

Most who run think of two things for this pursuit, that being pace and distance. Those two items are self explanatory, although I would submit most who don’t like running make a crucial mistake in regard to pace. While my best times were someone else’s slow runs, I ran an Army Physical Fitness Test at a pace that would give me 100 points in accordance with the fastest standard at the time. A fellow cadre member took off ahead of me, peeling off quarter miles at a pace roughly equal to 5:30 per mile, but then at the 1.5 mile mark they had to walk with .50 miles left. When asked why they did that, they said they hoped staying ahead would infuse them with extraordinary energy to sustain that pace. Instead they fatigued out.

While training techniques for run improvement include fast sprints and intervals, taking off at a pace you are not conditioned to sustain will just result in early burn out from lactate threshold (where your blood feels like it’s turning to battery acid). Most people do this, making their run a miserable experience and seemingly a fight for survival. A better technique is to take off moderately then improve upon your pace throughout the distance.

Additionally, many fail to focus on form. Most people think they should just run faster (and longer), but forget that running has a form.

The minimalist footwear movement is predicated on trying to wean generations of runners who have relied on excessive cushioning, especially in the heel, to not “heel strike” (first making contact with the ground on the heel of the lead leg) which essentially causes a braking effect and can send shock waves throughout the body. This is why we see so many injuries in those generations who ran in boots using the “heel to toe” method. Although a few elite runners heel strike, most of us need to focus on mid- or forefoot striking.

My thoughts are rather than relying on a materiel solution, why not just focus on form? It takes concentration, and requires constant attention, which is anathema to the “dissociate and just let the exercise occur” approach many are used to. Along with heel strike are arm swing and carriage. Are your arms crossing the center of your body? Are they swinging too high causing excessive energy expenditure?

Carriage refers to one’s posture when running, and is the easiest to ignore which is why people run with their shoulders rounded and head down! Wouldn’t you want to maximize the body’s ability to upload oxygen? But most new to running or those viewing it as something to endure just to lose pounds don’t focus on those form elements. This inadvertently leads to them training struggles vs. effort. Effort is not painless, but improves the athlete mentally and physically vs. struggling just to complete the endeavor.

I would encourage anyone in interested in improving their running to consider form and pace. Using paces well beyond your capacity results in form breakdowns or simply exacerbates already poor form and is a surefire route to failure, burnout or injury.

Don’t allow this incredible form of exercise to turn into an agonizing event that detracts from the elation one can feel when training or racing.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

ACS addresses autism, volunteers, resiliency

April is Autism Awareness Month One in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a 30 percent increase from one in 88 two years ago, according to a new report released March 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April is Autism Awareness Month and is necessary to inform the...
 
 

Rabid animals reported — pet owners advised to use caution

The City of Sierra Vista’s Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center, or ACC, is cautioning pet owners about possible rabid wild animals in and around Santa Cruz County, which recently declared quarantine. In Santa Cruz County, 24 skunks and four bats have been confirmed to be infected with the virus. The quarantine, passed by the...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

FH National Sexual Assault Awareness Month begins with a walk

Maranda Flynn At the completion of the Walk of Respect at Warrior-Sentinel Field Tuesday, Mag. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, and Brig. Gen. Peter Gallaghe...
 

 

Parents urged to help prevent teen sexting

The Sierra Vista Police Department has investigated several sexting reports in the past two months and urges parents to get involved and help prevent teens from making a mistake that could haunt them for the rest of their lives. Sexting is sending sexually explicit pictures or messages primarily by text messaging with cell phones. Research...
 
 

April is Alcohol Awareness Month ‘Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.’

Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., or NCADD, sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. For the 28th Anniversary of NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month, NCADD has chosen the theme “Help for Today....
 
 
RFL1_20140314_Flynn

FH leaders help raise cancer awareness

If you are getting déjà vu from purple toilets sitting in yards around the fort, don’t be alarmed — it’s that time of year again. For the second year, Fort Huachuca senior leaders are showing their support by participat...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin