The Sports Doctor: Gearing up for Thanksgiving road races
There are many Thanksgiving Day road races in the surrounding towns. One of my all time favorite, and very popular in the area, is sponsored by The Pequot’s Running Club, which takes place alone the scenic Long Island Sound in Southport, CT. Now this race can draw thousands of runners as one of the premiere races in the area.
As the runners get ready, one of the most important factors of racing is to learn how to keep an even pace over the distance. The goal of racing style is good posture; something you attain bylining up the head, shoulders and hips directly over the feet.
Start by getting up on your toes and leaning slightly forward in a relaxed position from the ankle to the head, then push off with the last bit of weight on the big toe. If you are in the proper position when racing, you should be pushing the stress behind you by pushing on your toes instead of slamming down on our heels.
This technique will allow more efficient energy to be placed into each step, instead of being placed onto uncontrolled side to side motion. The maximum propulsion from the feet, in the proper direction, will minimize effort.
The upper body has two functions while running, balance and breathing. The motion of the upper body should be relaxed. The arm carry has nothing to do with forward progress; it mainly keeps the runner in balance to compensate for what is going on below.
The runner should breathe with the diaphragm filling the belly with air then the chest.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons, has a practice in Darien and resides in Westport. For more information visit his website at www.therunningdoctor.net.