Other Voices: Run for your life

 

Many have decided trying to get into and stay in shape is more important than binge-watching the latest mind-numbing TV series or sampling the new mega-sized offering from their favorite fast-food factory.

There is one major problem: Most people have never been taught to run properly. From our toddling days, we just took off without proper training. Like snowflakes and DNA, no two running styles are alike. If you want to look good without pulling muscles, consult “The Perfect Form” at Runner’s World (runnersworld.com/training/a20811603/perfect-running-form).

I am not a running snob. Observing some of the running styles from the sidewalks of suburbia and beyond led me to create an easy reference guide to help categorize what you see every day running this way and that.

• Stretchers. They are easily spied pushing and pulling their musculature at the beginning, middle or end of their runs. Their posing on a pole is worth waiting for at a light. In many instances, when their stretch is over they jog to the closest caffeine cafe to loosen up with a latte and chocolate croissant.

• Multitasking Trotters. They may be running their mouths more than legs in an animated phone conversation telling their buds how fit they are becoming without paying much attention to that low-hanging branch, uneven curb or parking meter. Ouch! Have you seen my wireless earbuds? Can you call 911?

• Tool-Belters. “I’m runnin’ here, I’m runnin’ here!” Pay no attention to my fully filled runners tool belt. Phone, check. Second phone, check, Water bottle, check. Portable GPS, check. Backpack, check. These beasts of burden are weightlifting and running, the perfect combo.

• Gotta Be the Shoes. The most expensive pair of running shoes these days is in the $250 range. In the land of disposable income, you can’t be working on your proper pace without a pair of fresh-out-of-the-box Nikes, Asics, Sauconys, Adidas, On Clouds or New Balances.

• Compressionistas. These sprinting stylists have every inch of their running body parts covered in some sort of compression item – shorts, arm sleeves, leggings, shirts and shorts. Compression is designed to help increase blood flow, reduce muscle fatigue and prevent strain.

• Windmill/Washing Machiners. Windmillers and Washing Machiners are maximizing their arm strength and swatting bugs as they whip their appendages in a 360-degree circle, hoping to take flight.

• Trotting Gangs. The Sharks and Jets of “West Side Story” have nothing on the posses that take to the streets to get in their exercise. They own the sidewalks, so watch your step or there could be a rumble.

No matter what your style, keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you can.

Andy Dolich operates Dolich & Associates, a sports consultancy in Los Altos.

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