Get a Peer Review.
We were just two-and-a-half miles into the Madison Half Marathon when Maggie asked me, “What’s going on with your arm?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what are you doing with your arm? Do you always do that? I’ve never noticed it before, but it looks like a T-Rex or something.”
“Oh yeah, that. I do that when I’m fatigued. Is it that noticeable?”
I knew right then and there that if I was already slipping into my sloppy habits, so it was going to be a loooong 13.1 miles. But more than that, I was suddenly hyper-aware of my running form. You see, we had just watched Maggie’s Video Gait Analysis, and while I was thinking about my legs (because Maggie’s problems are lower-body-related), I hadn’t thought at all about my arm swing.
Arm swing is something I do really poorly. It’s something I’ve always done really poorly, and it’s to point where doing it correctly feels odd, forced and unnatural. I need to fix this — STAT! My arm swing affects everything from my posture to my foot strike. And if it weren’t for Maggie casually commenting on my Jurassic arm, I might never have consciously made an effort to do something about it.
And that’s what friends are for.
Now, I don’t necessarily recommend asking a friend for a running form analysis in the middle of a race, but I do recommend that you ask the people you run with often to tell you how you run. Odds are that they know exactly what your sloppy habits are, how your form changes when you get tired, and the ways you compensate when you’re injured.
So ask a running buddy for a performance review. (No, it’s not nearly as thorough as a Video Gait Analysis, but it’s a good place to start.) Just being more conscious of your own tendencies and quirks can help you make small adjustments that can make a big difference in the long run. — Aidz