That got your attention, didn't it!
No, I don't use drugs - never have, never will (and proud of it!). I don't use steroids. I hardly even drink. If we're talking addiction, I think the closest addiction I have is to fitness and eating good food!
Seriously though, while I was running in the park this morning (yep, beautiful weather again!), I was thinking about all sorts of different things, like usual, and realized that I use other runners. A lot. I doubt I'm alone on this, too. I have always loved people watching, and I guess I take it to another level when I'm running.
More times than not, my runs are solo. I'm not a member of a running team or club, I don't go to Nike Run Club or any of the other group runs led by running stores (although I have thought about it). I used to run with a group of people from work, but now if I run with others its usually just one or two people. I don't mind running on my own, I kind of like it, actually, but I do still find myself using other runners out on the road anyway. How is that person swinging their arms? Do they strike the ground loudly with their foot or do they sneak up on me? What is their breathing pattern like going up that hill? Do they speed up on the incline or downhill? Are they listening to an iPod? The bridle path or road? Do they clench their fists? What kind of gear, if any, do they have on them. What is are they using for fuel? Do they land on their heel or the ball of their foot? How is their posture? How high do they lift their knees?
Okay, so you get the idea. I watch other runners to see how they run and to try and improve my technique. Not long after I started running, a friend of mine who had been a x-country runner in high school, gave me a few tips that I continue to follow now and I often hear his voice in my head: pick up your speed when you're going uphill and swing your arms hard. Keep your hands below your elbows (okay, I'm not so great at this one when I'm tired or tense, but I try). And above all else, don't go out too fast!
While there are some hard and fast 'rules' to running, a lot of what makes someone a good runner really depends on them. It depends on a person's unique physiology and it's takes time to figure out what works best and whether we like it or not, that sometimes changes over time. Maybe this is one thing that makes running fun. You can always learn from yourself and others and become a better runner.
What is one tip you learned early on in your running life that you always follow? Or, what is one tip that you like to share with others that you think is key?
Run for Haiti