Imagine that you’re running in the race of your choice – the 5K, 10K, half or full marathon. You’re out on course, hoping you can hang on to your target pace for a few more kilometres.
You see a photographer, 50 metres ahead. You instantly change your running form. Hips line up neutrally, posture becomes tall and proud, you have a nice forward lean like a ladder, the stride is even and your cadence is in tune 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4.
You lift your chin as you remember that you should always look forward (and not down at your feet) so you get the maximum oxygen intake and best postural alignment.
As you get closer to that man with the camera you go through more checks.
You pull your shoulders back and tuck in your arms, swinging them tips to hips. You control your breathing 1,2,3, in 1,2,3 out, matching your foot strike.
The photographer has his finger on the shutter button but there’s one more thing to do: crack a smile!
At this moment, running suddenly seems effortless. You’ve got more energy than you did a few hundred metres ago, so you wave or give the photographer a peace symbol or thumbs up. You are too cool for school.
What you didn’t know was that by correcting all those simple things, you became more efficient, held better posture and had less ground contact time. By smiling you created a positive effect on your endurance performance by using psychology; tricking your brain into perceiving your effort as something with which your body could more easily cope, thus allowing your muscles to continue their hard work as if you’d only just started.
Now if only they could station a photographer every 2km we would all have the race of our lives!
The lesson here, apart from some sneaky tips on making your form efficient, is to remember to smile! A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes only a moment, but the memory of it can last forever if you invest a few bucks in your race photos!
Work on these techniques on your next run, and you will be running with confidence in no time.
With the Western Sydney Marathon only a month away, it’s the ideal time to talk about getting that perfect race photo.