Friday, December 7, 2012

I run corrected

There are a lot of people out there who don't like to be corrected by others. Ok, who am I kidding - no one enjoys being corrected. But, being corrected shouldn't make anyone feel like it's a threat to their persona. I mean, once in awhile, we do things incorrectly. Or at least, someone else thinks we are doing things incorrectly and try to give us a new way of doing things.

I prefer to keep an open mind and do the following:

1.) Hear correction.
2.) Ponder correction.
3.) Check for a reliable source.
4.) Try it the new way, or say, "Great tip, thanks! (but no thanks)" and go about your day.

I guess I'm familiar enough with my body to know that I do things wrong all the time, and there is always room for improvement. I really appreciate corrections to my swimming form, and am very open to make changes since I'm really still learning. Suggestions to improve my cycling are also appreciated, but it also depends on the source. The criticisms I  appreciate are usually regarding form: feet flat on the pedals, head up, center of gravity, etc. The criticisms I don't appreciate usually have to do with gear; everyone has to flap their jaws about the best clothes, best bikes, best cycling apps, etc. It's really easy for someone to say, "Oh you need these new $100 shoes," or "Oh you need a new $2,600 bike." This is why people think cyclists are elitists btw. (Oh and the fact that cyclists often don't feel they need to follow the rules of the road.)

A runner would just say, "Oh you run! How cool! Which races have you done?" I've heard less, "You should buy this, you should use this, you should, you should..." from runners. Runners are cool. As long as you have two feet and no injuries you can run. And if you can't run, you can walk. Runners will still like you. Correct me if I'm wrong here...

I'm ready to take triathlon to the next level, so I joined a local triathlon club. I want to be with people who push me, and teach me new things. But, it's also important to me to have organized swims and bike rides. The running I can do on my own - or so I thought.

At a club track workout this week, the coach corrected my running form! I was stunned. Now, I haven't had anyone look at my running technique probably since 1997. On the contrary, I've read a lot about running form and have made many corrections on my own. In fact, a few years ago I slowed my running down dramatically and tried to take on the Chi Running method which I feel has helped me to run more effortlessly. I thought I was a pretty damned good runner. So, I was shocked that the coach stopped me and gave me some pointers on my form: tilt forward from the ankles, land feet directly underneath you (not in front), and lead with your chest. I thought I knew these things! Worse is, I thought I was doing them!

It was taken for a loop (track pun intended), but I took it in the correction, tried to rationalize it (probably too much), got over the shock, and then tried to switch my form up the way the coach suggested. After a couple of laps, the coach commented that I was doing much better. It felt ok (honestly nothing felt good about doing 1,200 fast repeats that night).

I guess I really do need help with my running - and that's ok. The person who gave me the correction is a long time running coach. I'm lucky to have been corrected.

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