Do you remember 1996? Summertime . . . Olympics in Atlanta . . . Michael Johnson . . . gold shoes . . . gold medals. I remember it pretty well, mostly because of Mr. Johnson’s posture. He was so upright and he ran so fast and . . . it was really striking. The fact that I remember being wowed by it as a pre-teen with very little interest in running is a testament to the impact of his form. And now that I do run, I often recall not only the straight posture, but how everyone was doing it four years later in Sydney. I can’t help myself from trying it out every now and then. As I’m running, I’ll straighten my back, roll my shoulders back, and try to relax. I probably look ridiculous, but it does a good job of making me feel like a rockstar runner.
Aside from imitating the greats, there is a pretty good reason to do a “posture check” every now and then while you’re out for a run — and when you are sitting at the computer reading blogs. Especially if you are plagued by the dreaded side stitch. I just read yesterday that the side stitch, which I always thought was a breathing problem, is more likely a posture problem. Stopping and taking deep, controlled breaths may still be the best way to deal with a side stitch you already have, but standing up straight, shoulders back and relaxed may prevent those pesky side stitches from pestering you in the first place, which will make running more comfortable and less painful. (Side note regarding the photo: doesn’t Micah have great running form? Don’t I look like I’m about to die?)
This Tuesday’s tip: Stand up straight. Run straight up. Pretend to be a rockstar. You could spray paint your shoes gold, too, but that might be taking it a bit too far. Or not.