Getting my stride back in a 5k race
There was a beautiful study by Pete Larson of high-speed (slow motion) videos taken at this year's Boston Marathon: Gait Variability Among Elite Runners at the 2011 Boston Marathon. It contains a table showing the variability of different stride 'components' amongst some elite female and male runners. For example, 'step rate' (stride frequency) varies between 173.9 and 188.5 strides per minute for the men and 181.8 and 194.6 for the women. What has this to do with real-world (particularly aging) runners? I'm interested to hear your thoughts. I think it's easy enough to run with the same stride frequency as we age. An 81-year-old lady can race with the same number of steps per minute she used when flying over the ground in her thirties. What changes as we age is stride-length.
Rick reminded me about Pete Magill's article in Running Times: Solving the 5K Puzzle. The first piece of the puzzle is Stride Efficiency, so that's why I'm happy my stride felt good on Saturday (even though I'm yet to commence the drills and short hills that Pete recommends in the article). The only thing I've been doing thus far is running less mileage (50 to 60 kilometres per week rather than 90 to 100) and running faster (while concentrating on form) during these runs. I'd like to build the weekly mileage to something higher and assemble the other puzzle pieces over coming months.