Last week I posted my Columbus Marathon race photos, but I wanted to talk a little more about race photos – specifically, why I always take the time to look at mine even when I don’t purchase them.
Race photos are fun to see and nice to have, but I think they are also an important part of training. I always spend a little time analyzing my photos to identify my form weaknesses. I know I can’t be the only one who does this! For a longer race, form is bound to fall apart a bit towards the end for us amateur runners, but I think that offers a good opportunity to seek out those weaknesses. For example, I noticed last year that I ran with my arms up and often swung them across my body. I have focused a lot this year on keeping my arms at a 90 degree angle and swinging forward and back instead of across my body. This is something I work on during my solo runs when I can concentrate on how I am moving.
At times my photos reveal some hip drop which seems to come and go, but it’s a good reminder to stay diligent on strengthening my hips and working on my hip mobility. This one is important since I can’t feel something like that, but can clearly see it. There are also differences in my form from sprinting and doing an easier pace. When sprinting I tend to over-stride, so this is something I work on during my speed work.
I think it’s important to remember that most of us will never have perfect form. If you’re not running professionally, there are a million other things to focus on in life than perfecting form – so I don’t beat myself up over imperfections. I do think it is important to try to fix things that are causing or could cause injury as well as things that cause stride inefficiencies. Some easy things to look for include hip drop, over-striding, the way your foot is aligned when pushing off the ground, if your knee is rolling inward when pushing off, if your hip is driving your knee and foot upward rather than shuffling through your stride, and/or if you’re hunched over from your stomach area. But again, don’t recommend trying to fix everything at once! I like to pick one or two things to focus on.
So tell me, does anyone else analyze their race photos? What have you noticed from doing so?