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Lee Hoedl
6155 16th St. South, Fargo, ND 58104
Cell: 701.306.1266
Email: leehoedl@yahoo.com


Looking for just a few small adjustments to your running style that might make each intermediate and long run that much more enjoyable?

Remember: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes... and Breathing

No, not the kiddie song, but it is a GREAT reminder for each of us. But a couple adjustments to your posture and a mental note to remind yourself as you are on the road...


As you are out on your run and several miles down the road, observe how you are holding your head. Is it slumped down? Are you gazing more at the ground in front of you or at the skyline in front of you? By lifting your head and holding it up, facing the skyline, you are allowing your lungs to fully expand and your diaphragm to be used fully. When your head is down, it is one of the first signs that you are tiring and you are compressing your rib/lung cage. Remind yourself: Look up! Be positive! Breathe fully!


Every so often on your longer runs, you may notice that your shoulders are pulled up toward your neck and that your neck muscles might be tight. It simply strains your neck and your head along your run. Remind yourself: Lower my shoulders so my elbows and lower arm is at a 90-degree angle. It will greatly aid you in relaxing and breathing.


As your stride lengthens (forward and backward), your efficiency decreases. The greater the stride on a longer run, the less efficiency in your run. And distance running is all about pace and efficiency. Remind yourself: Shorten my stride so my legs and stride are mostly underneath my body, rather in front or behind me (when you are sprinting). You can shorten your stride and increase the turnover (left foot strike, right foot strke, left foot strike, right foot strike, etc.) to maintain your pace, while increasing your efficiency!


Remind yourself: Hot coals, hot coals, hot coals! If you were running across hot coals for 26.2 miles, I guarantee you that you would not be running with a heel-to-toe strike and release. Think and practice running your pace and stride as if you were quickly tiptoeing across a field of hot coals. It will allow you to have more of a midfoot strike and you will become more efficient - plus you will not feel the force and pain to your knees further down the road.


Finally, remind yourself to BREATHE. We so often, when under stress (i.e. sprint runs, short bursts of exercise) tend to hold our breath or shorten our breath. This does not allow us the adequate amount of oxygen to our lungs and legs. Remind yourself not to hold your breath and to breathe as much and as often as your body desires/demands - there's no charge for oxygen so don't short yourself.

It's easy to remember and may add smiles to your miles. Simply remind yourself during each mile, each song on your Ipod, each water stop: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes... and Breathing!