Sunday, January 15, 2012

5. Form matters

Fifth lesson of running is that there is a best way to do it. Presumably, there is actually a single best way, but more realistically there is a best way for each of us, meaning I'm never going to stride like Meb but I can learn to stride as well as I can.

We lawyers generally get this, with our emphases on procedure. We rail against convicting even the guiltiest of SOBs if we did it the wrong way. We teach that there is a best way to communicate a thought. I'm currently grading exams down, at least in part, if the students express the right idea in the wrong words.

So of course when we go for a run we intuitively understand there's a right way to do it. Do we do it the right way? I have spent most of my running career figuring that I ran fine in light of my modest talent and work ethic. This winter I'm playing a little with foot strike, stride length, linearity of motion.

How do you work on form? I am told there's one sure way to do it. Hill Repeats. (Deliberately capitalized.)

I did a short spin down into Rock Creek Park, emerging via the Tilden climb to Connecticut. Right on Albemarle and wind back to Linnean to return home. Then up Ingomar 6 times. I was going to stop there, but The Youth cycled through on my iPod, so I knocked out 7 and 8. And after a week in which we said our goodbyes to two family members -- one, my grandmother; the other, my stepfather's brother J__ -- I had an inspiration about what living means. So back downhill. I spent number 9 remembering Grandma and number 10 remembering J__.

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