The Marathon Shuffle

There is one huge factor as to why I love to run at events. Since I live out here in the boonies, finding running partners is darn near impossible. The great thing about events, is that there are so many different types of runners out there. Most of the time, you won’t see the same ones at each event. This means a plethora of subjects with which to observe when boredom strikes.

The funny thing about Saturday’s Half Marathon was that both my husband and I observed the same thing with several of the runners. We called it The Shuffle. Many of them just kind of shuffled their feet along. It almost looked as though, if perhaps they should drag a toe and lose their footing, it would force them to fly forward and land flat on their face. Yet, they were extremely efficient at running and appeared completely at ease. And it occurred to me that since they were using such a small amount of downward, jarring force to propel themselves forward with said shuffle, that perhaps they were on to the secret as to how to keep your legs fresh throughout the long run.

After sharing the observation with my husband, I thought that perhaps I would try the shuffle, just to see if I noticed any kind of difference in how my legs felt as the mileage grew.

Tuesday, I had a long run planned in the back of my head. I wasn’t quite sure how the rest of the week would play out weather-wise. I thought it would be a good day to give it a go. Plus, temperatures were expected to reach record highs this day (a first), so I figured it would keep me on the straight and narrow pace wise. My concentration for the next 5 weeks is to actually try to run steadily at marathon pace. And the number I’ve assigned for that is 8:30.

I decided on an easy 10-mile route, 5 out, 5 back. Hills are long and gradual, and it is all road. I concentrated on not using my legs. As crazy as this sounds…it was almost like a super fast walk…a shuffle! I’ll be darned!

It came very easy…and it kept my pace down at a resonable level. At times, I’d try to speed up using the shuffle and a bit more forward lean. Sometimes this worked, sometimes I found myself wanting to take longer strides, so I had to refocus on taking shorter strides, and this would interrupt the shuffle. Nevertheless, I can see how this can be extremely effective. And what a difference it made with my legs! I was quite surprised. Not only did I feel much looser from the waist down, but I had no hammie pain and no cramping whatsoever of any kind. Hmmmm. I wonder what I have stumbled upon!

I’m looking forward to trying more of this. My next three Saturday runs are 19, 12 and 20 miles, consecutively. I think these will be great opportunities to continue experimenting with the shuffle. After that, I enter the taper. OMG…how did this happen so quickly?

Here are my stats from the Marathon Shuffle run. My heart rate was great, and my pace was just about right on the money. Oh, and that final drop in pace and heart rate was due to the fact that I just had to stop and snap some photos of the sky. Before the temperatures soared into the 90s that day, a few showers passed through and made for an amazing display. Since I am a meteorologist, I just had to stop and capture it.

Amazing Sky. I just love the red shed in the foreground with the new green vegetation.

Amazing Sky. I just love the red shed in the foreground with the new green vegetation.


Amazing Sky photo enhanced with iPhone App

Amazing Sky photo enhanced with iPhone App

It was amazing enough that I actually STOPPED to take photos. Now, you know that has to mean it was pretty damn amazing, because I don’t stop for much!

I also pulled out the shorts and the tank for this run. Whoooo hoooo!

First sleeveless run of 2013!

First sleeveless run of 2013!

What have you observed while running in an event? Did it make you question your running technique?


5 Responses to The Marathon Shuffle

  1. Celia Varga says:

    Sounds like you’ve stumbled upon the correct form for Chi running! Your graphs are almost flat lines! I can’t wait to see how you feel on your longer run. Looks like you’re going to ace your first marathon.. 🙂

  2. That shuffle almost sounds like a speed walk…great job…

    Shannon at I Survived and Now I Run

  3. Thanks, Shannon! Learn something new everyday, right?

  4. Wow, that iPhone app made the pic look amazing! What a scene. I have yet to figure out how to take photos during runs without completely stopping for several seconds. I have no idea how people do it in races! That photo is worth any time lost, though.

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