It’s All About the Pelvis

I AM ALWAYS UP FOR IMPROVING MYSELF, SO I went to a running form class tonight at my local Running Fit store. About twelve people showed up, and we each took our turn getting videotaped on the treadmill, knowing we’d be on the big screen later, technique flaws in full view.

Proper technique isn’t difficult: just keep your body in line, leaning slightly forward (from the ankles, not the waist), elbows bent at 90 degrees, arms kept mostly behind the body, shoulders relaxed, don’t swing the hips, and use short strides so you land midfoot instead of heel striking. Oh yes, and tuck in the pelvis, so the spine remains in line with the hips. The instructor helpfully pointed out that her two-year-old does this all naturally, as do most kids. Apparently adults need to pay professionals and watch videos to relearn it.

After lecture and demonstrations, it was playback time. I was relieved to see that I was doing some things well. Good arm position, and I wasn’t bouncing up and down like some other folks. But my stride was too long, resulting in heel strikes. And my pelvis was most definitely untucked.

Coach Marie had assigned me a six-mile tempo run tonight, so I was able to try out the corrections right after class. I invited everyone to join me, but no one accepted. (Perhaps they wanted to adjust their pelvises in private first.) So I went out the door and right onto the road. Stride length, pelvis, – oh, and cadence adjustment too – 180 steps per minute, regardless of speed. (Need a metronome to pace yourself? There’s an app for that.)

It took only about 100 yards for me to feel the difference. Keeping the pelvis properly tucked required actively engaging the abs, and the shortened stride felt choppy and unnatural. In short, it felt really weird. And yet, I was running comfortably at a good pace. I kept things under control for four miles, as planned, then turned it up for the final two – much faster, but not all out – and finished with plenty left in the tank.

We were told we’d get our videos via email, so I’ll be posting “Before” and “After” shots here. Once I make sure I’m tucking properly.

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