Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the Words of a Champion (Salazar)

Salazar overhauled the marathoner Dathan RitzenheinSalazar entered coaching and tried things like red blood cell saturation, fatigue analysis.  The MOST bang for the buck came when he simply critically looked at his athlete's form!  
Looking back, Salazar blames his form for his decline. “The way I ran, it wasn’t sustainable,” he said. “The attitude at the time was: if you were gifted with perfect form, great. If you weren’t, you were just kind of stuck.” While a runner with an awkward stride might win a few races, Salazar argues now, he’s ultimately doomed to break down: “The knee injury, the hamstring injury—in hindsight, these were the things that killed me.”  Salazar found his running performance unsustainable:  

Salazar’s interest in form began in 2006. Watching a race on TV, he was struck by something distinctive in the stride of an Ethiopian racer named Kenenisa Bekele, the world record holder in both the five thousand metres and the ten thousand metres. Scrutinizing Bekele’s body on the screen, Salazar noticed that he didn’t arc his back leg up slowly between strides but instead retracted it sharply, like a piston. “While all these other runners had long, trailing legs, his foot was coming right up to his butt,” Salazar recalled. “I thought, Is that just coincidence? Or could that perhaps be part of why he’s so good?

The fastest finishers had a higher thigh drive, for one thing; at its apex, their femur bone was almost parallel to the ground, like the front legs of a bounding deer. They also slapped the ground so quickly with their forefoot that the contact seemed almost incidental. According to Walker, the short slap transfers force more efficiently, shooting it from the ground forward into the pelvis, rather than allowing it to dissipate in the flex of the foot. The effect, Walker says, is like “a pogo stick with a stiff spring.” He explained, “You want the chain of force to travel from the ground through the body with minimal energy loss. That’s what it means to run efficiently.”Read more 

I think about my feet barely swiping the ground beneath me as I run (esp at speed).  When things are just right I am brushing the ground like a 3" paint brush.  ..Stuff to think about from the pros.

1 comment:

  1. What are your thoughts:

    Is the most efficient form the same for elite marathoners doing 5 minute miles as it is for ultra marathoners doing 10 minute miles over 4X the distance?