After attending a running form clinic, I was informed that I was "caught in the marathon shuffle." My knees weren't driving forward much at all, and the rest of my body was compensating. As a result, I burn more energy than necessary and am not building strength or endurance effectively. The report from the clinic also outlined ways to start changing my stride, and I found that many items were applicable in both running and writing.
- One step at a time. It's difficult to focus on more than one thing at a time while you're running, so consciously work to change one aspect of your form at a time. For writing, choose one stylistic element to tweak whether it's your diction, syntax or grammar. The tiny changes will add up.
- Be mindful. Your body and writing won't stand up well to abuse. Work towards change; don't try to force it all at once. You're liable to get burned out and/or injured.
- Research experts' advice. Just like in writing, you have to research authors' credentials and backgrounds. Their information will inform how you treat your body or body of work, so choose and implement information only from trusted sources.
- Don't fight it. Yes, you're trying to change ingrained behavior patterns. No, it's not going to be particularly easy. Change happens, and with some direction on your part, it can ensure better results.
- Uncomfortable is normal, overwhelming pain is not. Running through minor pain and cramping is par for the course. If the pain gets unbearable or overwhelming, slow down. You'll be out of the game longer with a compound injury than you would if you slow your training. Likewise, writing in new areas can expand your boundaries as an author, but if an article topic makes you downright uncomfortable, it might not be a good fit. Your emotional health is more important.