After Sunday’s race, someone sent me a picture they had snapped as I was heading toward the finishing chute. A quick glance at it and I saw what I always see in racing pictures of me–my left hand was clenched. Not my right, though. This is something I do in races, during speed work, and toward the end of long runs. I’ve been aware of it for years and no matter how much I might try to change it–it sticks with me.
I think that everyone has some sort of style “quirk” that makes their stride their own. I have a friend who is a super speedy, accomplished runner. Her recognizable style–a little kick out of her right foot as she extends her hip. I’d recognize her from a long way off, I’m sure, and I can say the same for many others.
The elites do it, too. How many times have you heard people talk about Paula Radcliffe’s head bob? How about Michael Johnson’s very distinct, upright style? Sometimes these styles might not look “pretty” or “right” but clearly some people make them work.
These individual styles also have nothing to do with heel striking versus mid foot striking. My fist clenching has been there since the start, long before I changed my form and it’s clearly not going anywhere. Good or bad, (ok, probably bad!) I’m stuck with it (and maybe too lazy to try to change anymore).
What sets your running stride apart? Ever try to change it?