18 August 2013

The shuffler

 



















In a post back in July titled ‘Shoulders back chest out’ I bravely uploaded a VIDEO of my running form. I had Scott comment that for the most part … not bad. Probably being kind! He thought however I still had a couple of areas to work on. The first being that age old problem of hunched shoulders (I repeat AGE and OLD) and the second to increase my back kick higher towards my butt.

I’m confident I’ve been able to correct the hunched shoulders by consciously keeping my chin up and chest out. In other words it was doable. The ‘shuffle’ however is much harder to fix. I’ve often tried out on the road to increase my back kick and always found it feels incredibly unnatural. Well for me anyway. It gets worse too. I’ve seen myself on video crossing the finish line in a couple of marathons … really horrible. That shuffle of mine had disintegrated into something that resembled a road sweeper at 2 in the morning!

After a fair bit of reading I discovered that it’s all in the hamstrings. They need lengthening and strengthening. Do this, and the kick will happen all by itself, naturally. The exercise most recommended is leg curls.
















Ive bought the gear specifically designed for what I need which I’m pleased to report is now fully paid for. A 7.5 kg resistance band is perfect and at 45 reps 3 times a week I can promise you … I’m feeling it.

No shuffle evident with this guy. Hicham El Guerrouj dominated middle distance running from 1995 to 2004. Often referred to as ‘King of the Mile’ he is widely regarded as the greatest middle distance runner of all time. Had he not won the Olympic 1500m in Athens however, his legacy would have been very different and he, more than anyone, knew it. This is an epic race, one of the best ever and a result so deserved for one of the sports truly dedicated. Being such a nice guy only added to it.
























6 comments:

  1. Hey Mark

    Hope your next race reflects the effort you've put in of late. And thanks for linking to that 1500 race! When he hugs Lagat at the end I was truly moved!

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    1. Lagat ran the last lap in 52 seconds! Perhaps in any other Olympic year he'd have taken GOLD. Again, the best of luck on Sunday.

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  2. I just watched that video, too. Brilliant! Hope you do well in Cambridge.

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    1. Thanks Nick. I'm looking forward to reading all about the Utsukushigahara 70k. I still expect the odd photo. I can't imagine you'll be disciplined enough to leave the camera behind! Best of luck.

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  3. Hi Mark. Your form on the treadmill looks pretty good to me.

    'Back kick' is something that happens naturally for those fast 800/1500 runners. I have seen fast 'shufflers' in races as short as 5k though. There are some Japanese ladies that run in the 15-16 minute range for 5k and shuffle. Probably marathoners moving down in distance. We have a local bloke who has beautiful looking form, high back kick etc but he gets beaten by 30 seconds in a 1500 by a shuffler with a fast turnover.

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    1. Only we runners can look at good 'running form' as a thing of absolute beauty. I'm in your corner with this. A relaxed runner with a high back kick makes me drool with envy. Shufflers look less appealing but boy we know how to economise. Wise words Ewan. Thanks for the encouragement.

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