Last Sunday I got up at the early hour of 0700 – well it was early for me – and drove for 2 hours to meet a running coach. I was a bit worried and sceptical that he’d be able to help me – what if I just couldn’t do what he wanted – after all running is natural and what if I couldn’t change. When I arrived at his house I was a little scared that I’d been groomed on the internet – I ‘met’ him on twitter but I was met by his friendly wife and a couple of his running friends and soon relaxed. While waiting to start I found out that they were all excellent runners – including the dog – this bode well!
My new coach said he needed to video me running and we walked round to a small lake at the back of his house. He set the camera up and told me to run naturally – very difficult when you’re being filmed. We then trotted back to his house for the analysis. I thought I ran pretty well but I knew it wasn’t efficient because I always but in a lot of effort and was still relatively slow. I suspected I might heel strike as I saw this in any running photos of me although my brain said I didn’t. It seems that I was doing everything wrong – it’s a wonder I didn’t injure myself everytime I ran!
I then walked, hopped and jogged around his living room barefoot trying to emulate the coach unsuccessfully. I felt like a small elephant to his light and airy style. And with that we drove out for a run.
I’ve not run with many people before – mostly with slower, new runners but he was fast and I was worried. I thought he’d slow down for me and he probably did but for me it was the fastest I’d ever run – 8 minute miles at one point (my best before that was 10 mins). I felt like my legs weren’t doing any work and the only thing that was telling me I was running faster than normal was my legs turning over faster and my breathing was heavier.
What a revelation! I would have never been able to make the changes without him – there’s just no way because the changes felt so wrong but produced such great results. Now I know I’ve only been for one XC run and I hope I haven’t forgotten everything when I run tomorrow but I just know – really know – that last Sunday was a great day in my running life. I got to meet fabulous people, go for a fabulous run in the Peak District and improve my running style – what more could you ask for?
My thanks to @thinkrunning and his lovely wife for making me feel so welcome!