For years, I’ve put off seeing a professional running coach. I’ve always suspected that I have bad form. In fact, many people have commented on my “strange gait,” and I was pretty sure I was physically unfit to be a runner. But I love running. And I didn’t want a professional’s advice to change that.
Now that I’ve started running more serious distances, I decided it was finally time to seek some professional help. If I made minor adjustments, could I be a more efficient runner? What if I was hurting my body and causing irreparable damage? If I wanted to be a serious runner, I had to know.
The night before I met Peter Pimm, an experienced and successful endurance running coach, I actually had a nightmare. I dreamt that Peter was going to tell me that my form was so abysmal that I should quit running altogether. I cried and begged him to let me keep trying but he refused. I was devastated.
A bit dramatic, I know. I was worried. It turns out though, my worrying was all for nothing.
I was immediately at ease with Peter. He was friendly and inviting and I felt like we had a good rapport from the beginning.
The first thing he had me do was run around outside a bit while he took some video. He explained that we would watch the video together and analyse my form to see where I needed to make adjustments.
As expected, my form isn’t perfect, but it turns out it’s actually not completely terrible either. My posture is decent and the way my feet connect with ground is also OK. However, I run with what Peter described as “egg beater” legs, which means I kick out my feet on either side as I run. This doesn’t necessarily affect my running performance. It’s just not all that attractive to watch!
The biggest thing I learned in our discussion was that, as a runner, I am under-training. I feel like Peter’s jaw hit the floor when I told him I only run twice a week. I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting on the couch eating cookies on the days I don’t run, but if I want to get better, faster and raise my endurance enough to do a full marathon, I should really up my mileage.
Peter also provided a succinct little plan between now and Around the Bay to ensure I’m ready. I still feel nervous about the 30km distance, but I’m confident I’ll be in fine form for race day. Speaking of Around the Bay, here’s an interesting fact: Peter actually WON this race in 1972. There’s an epic picture of him crossing the finish line on his website here.
If you want to learn more about Peter and his services, check out his site: http://www.servicesforrunners.com
You can also follow him on Twitter: @CoachPimm.