Form = Everything

If you know me at all, or have been reading this blog for a little while, you know I’m obsessed with form. OBSESSED. I can’t help it. It was burned into my brain from a very young age to be militant about my form when I exercise.

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

But my form was never, ever, ever very good when I ran. Like, ever. I slouched and hung my head back for the longest time. Not sure how coaches let me run with crappy form (probably cuz I wasn’t exactly a promising athlete…), but there we are.

And it was ugly. And not helpful.

You know what changed that? Moving to New York and seeing the pros run.

Keflezighi_MebM-NYC09.JPG-280x421

Meb is one of those runners that just looks strong when he runs.
(Image courtesy of running.competitor.com)

Here in NYC, we see the pros and semi-pros training in Central Park pretty regularly. I’ve shouted out to Meb, Desi, and Kara (all very graciously acknowledged my embarrassing fan-girling) and marveled at how effortless they looked.

Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Desiree Davila

No one in this group is slouching, so I shouldn’t either.
(Image courtesy of http://www.brushnewstribune.com/ci_19742283)

Ok, so Kara kinda hangs her head back. Clearly, we are kindred spirits. But other than that, these athletes work hard on their form, knowing that in order to engage the strongest muscles in the best way, they must too be militant about their form.

So how did looking at pictures of other runners and watching the pros pass me like I was standing still help my form?

Confession: I envision myself running like them when I’m out for a run. Boobs up, belly in, legs long, arms pumping.

look-like-when-im-runningI may look more like the latter picture vs. the former, but my form has actually improved by leaps and bounds.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago...and even sometimes now.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago…and even sometimes now.

Yes, I strength train. Yes, I pay attention to my posture on the treadmill. But most of all, I picture myself running like Meb and Kara and Shalane. I’m not always successful…

Thumbs up at mile 20...but looking a little slouchy.

Thumbs up at mile 20…but looking a little slouchy.

Anyway, sometimes it’s not about strengthening and obsessing. Sometimes it’s about just standing up straight. And sometimes it’s about finding out just what the heck your form looks like, which is why you get an evaluation at Finish Line Physical Therapy.

And the winners of Peak Performance Analysis are…

Who wants to be a winner?

Who wants to be a winner?

EVERYONE!

Seriously. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who commented on the post will receive an email from me today so I can get your addresses and send you the cards so you can visit the fine people at Finish Line.

Thank you to the fine folks at Finish Line for your generosity!

Now go out and run (tall).

I’m Not Delusional

I generally find myself pretty spoiled with good running weather. Even on the coldest of Winter days I’m able to throw on a jacket, two pairs of tights, sub-zero ski accessories and hit the track with Birdie.

Let's play a game of Guess How Many Layers Abby's Wearing!

Let’s play a game of Guess How Many Layers Abby’s Wearing!

The Summer is a completely different beast and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Gross.

Gross.

So what’s a girl to do when it’s 7am and I’m struggling to finish a run in my soaking wet shorts and tank top? Well, lately I’ve been stripping down.

Well, there we are. No shirt in Central Park.

Well, there we are. No shirt in Central Park.

Let’s be clear, I know what I am and what I’m not. I’m not delusional.

I look like neither of these women, this I know.

I look like neither of these women, this I know. Well, except for the tan lines. I definitely have those in spades.

I don’t have a six pack. Things jiggle in my middle when I run. My legs are short. I look nothing like a runner “should”.

But, dammit, it’s hot out there. And when there’s nothing else to do, I just whip off my tank top, wrap it around my waist and get on with my workout. I even do it next to my extremely sinewy runner friends. So there.

What else CAN you do? I mean, 90-something degrees, 90-something percent humidity and I’m trying to work out? Yeah. I’m gonna do it in as little clothing as possible.

Sorry I’m not sorry if it offends you.

You know what? Get over it.

Happy naked runner.

Happy naked runner.

I don’t run shirtless to impress you. I don’t run shirtless to get attention. I don’t run shirtless because I want someone to take my picture. I don’t run shirtless because I think I’m a model.

I run without my shirt because it’s hot and I really want to get my miles in and I don’t care if someone is offended by my non-six pack shirtlessness or a woman running without a shirt in general.

I. Don’t. Care.

And neither should you.

The added bonus: most people stand up taller and run with better posture when they run shirtless. It definitely brings out the best in my running form. Win, win.

Now go out and run.

And run nekkid if you need to. It’s hot out there!