Sunday, October 2, 2011

Running Coach

Jonathan at center, neither boy connected to his shadow.
With all the videos I take, I can study how various agility competitors run.  Most of us can't run!  We take small steps, don't lift our knees, don't swing our arms, don't lean forward, and we certainly never get airborn like the young atheletes in this photo.  There are a few exceptions, especially with the young girls, but very few. 

Since most of us have no occasion to run in our daily lives, who can blame us?  And we certainly don't get any coaching in this department in our agility classes.  I never see anybody warm up before their runs, so no wonder we see a lot of knee and back braces at every trial.  So I've been putting out the Universal Call for a running coach, meanwhile doing what I can to coach myself. 

In answer, this past Saturday I had occasion to attend my 14 year old grandson's cross country race in Baton Rouge, and filmed hundreds of teenagers running (next post).  As the still frame photo of Jonathan confirms, these kids definitely do get airborn.  I watched coaches warming up their teams with sprints, insisting upon waist-high knee lifts that result in more of a cycling rather than a scissors action of the legs, cross overs where the rear leg must lift high as it comes around front, and backwards sprints.  All these young atheletes have two feet off the ground at some point during their trajectory, resulting in less friction and them able to cover more ground.

1/2 # sandbags can be removed
to lower weight
I had already put it together that knee lifts are important, and to that end John bought me some Gold's Gym 2.5# adjustable ankle weights (Wal-Mart $6).  I have been walking around the house with 2# strapped to each ankle a few hours a day.  Gracious, 2# weighs a lot!  For the first week or so, they made my thighs and buttocks burn!  Now I hardly notice them.  You can buy a lot more expensive Re-Bok ankle weights off of for $19, but these Gold Gym's do fine, adjust from 1/2# to 2.5# each,  and are comfortable enough.

I'm also practicing taking giant steps around the yard as I lift my knees.  It looks dorky but I can feel the stretch to my inner thigh.

Will all this make a difference in my speed around the course?  All I can do is wait and see.
Upwards and onward!

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