Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Moron Running

The more I look at it, the less you need to know to become a comfortable runner.  The key aspects are being strong and flexible enough to be ready for the stresses of learning to run, followed by learning and maintaining a high cadence and strong arm swing as a beginner.  That's about it.  Most of the rest of the details (foot strike, heel-lift, etc.) develop as natural consequences of the few items above.

Everything else I've come across is focused on what not to do!  And that list is long.  And the list has differences for each of us.  That's why I've chosen to focus only on basic, comfortable running: Becoming a fast runner requires learning the specifics of what works best for your body in terms of both training and technique.

The beginner should have to focus on just a few key elements, with the standard of success not being speed in a race, but comfort over a distance.  Comfort must come first.  Once you have comfort, distance becomes easier.  Once you have distance (still with comfort), then you may be ready to experiment with technique and training changes to focus on speed.

Too many coaches focus on speed as the standard of success.  Probably because it is easiest to measure.  Running with comfort and fun is harder to measure.  For me, fun and comfort are by far the most important indicators of success as a runner!

Only professionals and the hyper-competitive should suffer for their sport.  The rest of us should enjoy the doing, and let the result be whatever it is.  Only those obsessed with speed should be concerned about biomechanics, kinematics, physiology, and similar scientific details.  The rest of us should simply focus on running comfortably, and enjoying the experience.

Comfort and fun:  Don't run without them!  Everything else a beginner needs to learn to run should be the absolute minimum required to provide access to comfortable running and fun.

When learning to run, the KISS Principle definitely applies.  The hard part is finding the few things needed to make learning to run "simple".  Many have written on this topic, but as soon as they boil it down, they turn around and complicate it with explanations and mind-numbing detail that is meaningless to the beginner.

I suspect most would prefer to approach learning to run as a moron who wants to stay that way:  Tell me nothing other than the minimum needed to get me running comfortably!  Don't make me think: Help me do!

The details can wait until the hunger for them appears.