Today was the 3rd race that I have run using my new running form, based around Chirunning, the Pose method, and "natural" running. I did well today, running my 5k in 23:38 mins. My splits were 7:27, 7:41 and 7:44 (and for those doing the math, .46 mins for the last 10th of a mile). A little slower than I would have liked, but it was hot today even for 7:00 AM start. Also the race wasn't chip timed, so the accuracy of that result may be suspect. Still the difference is not over 20 seconds, so my last PBR for the Girls on the Run 5k is still safe. I suspect that my lower finish time is a result of tiredness from over-training this week and my head not being focused on my time.
As for my running form changes, I have been pretty happy. I have been focusing on keeping my cadence around 87 strides per minute. The faster foot turnover means less chance of over-striding and hopefully less injuries. The easiest way to describe this running form is to say that your shoulders should be over your hips and your hips should be over your knees.
I'm trying to keep my knees and hips "quiet." To achieve this, I try to keep my hips/pelvis up right and in-line with my spine. To avoid tilting my hips, I stretch out my spine and everything lines up. I like to think about standing tall to straighten out my spine. As for building more speed, I have learned to lean forward at my ankles to generate more speed. This way I don't tilt my hips, so much as I lean my entire body into the direction that I'm running. As for my knees, I keep them loose and slightly bent to avoid unnecessary impact. I've learned that locking my knee when my foot lands is a good way to over-stride and heel-strike which leads to shin splints and vicious knee pain. Locking my knee on push-off results in a toe-push which could lead to a pulled muscle or tight calves and shin splints. I focus on pulling my heel straight up behind me like I'm a puppet on a string. To do this, I use my hamstring to pull my foot back. My footstrike is lighter and easier now that I hit on the balls of my feet/midfoot instead of my toes or heel. My upper body as I stated earlier is fairly upright from trying to keep my spine straight. I'm keeping my arms bent 90 degrees at the elbow, and I keep them from swinging wildly as I run. By keeping my arms tight, i.e. my arms don't swing farther out than my wrist or elbows from my rib cage, I'm able to conserve more energy and keep my cadence. My biggest weaknesses appear to be my breathing and letting my spine curve as I get tired. But it's getting there. I can't wait for my next race