When I started running about 10 years ago, I was told to always make sure my stride was longer. I was told many times that a short stride will tire you out. Have any of you been told that??? I actually think that is now just as much of a myth as the myth that taller people make better runners. Maybe that is not the advice that is given today, maybe my advisor was old-school and didn't know any better, and maybe what I am about to share is something you all already know... not sure.
Well, I just got my Shape magazine for March 2010, and in there is a small article in there about running, and how to reduce injury. And guess what it suggests??? SMALLER STRIDES! The author of the study says: "Shortening your stride decreases the force when your foot lands, which lessens the stress on your bones.... Although you'll need to take more steps to go the same speed and distance, it shouldn't feel any harder.'
MY personal experience:
It wasn't until last year that I started seriously running longer distances, and as I trained throughout last year, I started playing around with my stride length. I noticed that going downhill, the tendancy is to make your (my) stride longer, but I noticed my foot was landing very forcefully, and I thought,"this can't be good." So, I started taking really small faster steps, and letting myself GLIDE down the hill. I immediately noticed that my pace did not suffer, and that it lessened (almost eliminated) the jolt on my body from landing so hard.
I then started playing around with taking shorter, faster steps on a flat surface and going uphill. And much to my surprise, not only did my pace immediately get FASTER, but I was able to maintain a faster pace for a longer time, and it felt WAY easier than trying to push for longer strides.
My conclusion: Longer strides are not the answer, necessarily, and maybe, just maybe, you don't have to sacrifice speed to avoid injury. I still change it up, and do intervals using longer strides - I figure it can only strengthen my running to practice using different techniques, but as a whole, I find shorter, faster strides much less fatiguing and more gentle on my body.
Oh, and by the way, I believe doing a spinning class helped me greatly with being able to take faster steps (increasing my turn-over rate). Particularly, doing the sprint segments in spinning (peddling very quickly). Jeff Galloway's website said biking wouldn't really improve your performance in running, but I think it has, actually.
What do you think? What has your experience been???
Another tip from Darcy: Don't "bounce" when you run - keep your feet pushing you forward and not UP. It's a waste of energy and momentum. If you tend to bounce a lot when you run, try to concentrate on keeping your body level, and pushing forward with each step. =)
5K Run: 22:55 (non-race)
10K Run: 46:16
Half Marathon: 1:43:12
| Pounds lost: 46.4