October 16, 2012

Changing Form

I’m working at changing my running form.   Why, after running the same way presumably for the past 40 years, should I change you might ask?  Only because I want to be faster.  I like to be towards the head of the pack.  I’m 42 years old and am willing to train myself to run with higher heels and better arm position to shave seconds (hopefully minutes) off of my 5K time.  

It’s not easy.   Every run, I start out well intentioned and focused and as I run farther, I start to drift off and fall back into my comfortable, less efficient form.  I berate myself for falling off the wagon, regroup, and continue on with the new form several times during a single workout.  Muscles being used in slightly different angles/positions start to protest.  I start to long for mindless running again.  But then, I realize I’ve engaged more of my body to run better.  I can feel my stride becoming more efficient, and I surge forward with renewed hope for success.

As I struggle to make this new running form my own, I realize that this is no different than other times in my life when I have “changed form” – leaving home and going to college, becoming a wage earning adult after college, diving into management of other people, getting married, becoming a mom, adopting a more fit lifestyle…it’s really all the same process.

Changing form requires motivation, patience, perseverance, and an ability to adapt.  It requires acceptance of the fact that various failures and some pain along the way are likely and that adaptation is necessary for permanent change.  We don’t just say we are going to change and it happens suddenly – we have to work at it.  Never expect to change form overnight – find your motivation and remind yourself why you are changing every day; be patient with the process and yourself; and persevere.  You can do it.

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