January 23, 2007

My running slap, slap, slap

I mentioned in a previous post that I usually make a lot of noise when I run, due to my toes hitting the ground hard and causing a slapping sound. I'm a slap, slap, slap runner. I also mentioned that once in a while, I run with very little noise; I referred to it as stealth running.

I've been experimenting with with my form to see if I can induce the stealth running (in the past, it has occasionally occurred without me doing anything to cause it). I've found that I can induce it, and I'm practicing doing the stealth running. In my normal running, I hit with my heel, and my foot then hits the ground with a slap sound. In stealth running, I hit with the flat of my foot, and since my foot needs less movement to allow me to toe off, less noise is generated.

I have to be careful, though, that my attempts to be a stealth runner don't lead me to injury. Our bodies have their "natural" style of running, and attempts to change that need to be slight, such that our bodies are slowly led to a new form. Abrupt changes, can in my humble opinion, increase the stress on our bodies.

My motivation for running with less noise comes from two sources. First, an article in Runner's World. The article reported on an interview with Bill Rodgers. The author asked Bill to run at his marathon pace. The author commented that he (the author) was struggling to keep up with Bill, and Bill was gliding along with little noise. Second, in his book Running Until You're 100 Jeff Galloway describes a "gliding" technique of running that takes less energy. I'll discuss that technique in a later post.

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