I'm realizing more and more that I just don't know how to run. At 220 pound,s I am certainly not built for it, but I refuse to believe that I can't at least be decent at it. After all, Joe Decker is as big as me, roughly, and he has done the Raid Gauloises, the Badwater 135 mile footrace across Death Valley, and the Marathon des Sables ("The World's Toughest Footrace"). Size is not the issue. And it isn't heart or willpower, because that won't get you across 135 miles of desert on foot. You have to be good at what you're doing. In running, that equates to efficiency, injury prevention, and speed.
The traditional way of tackling this issue is to just run more - and hopefully you'll get better. But imagine we applied that logic to cooking - you can bake a cake, but it keeps coming out halfway burnt. Do you bake 1o cakes instead of one? 100 cakes? They'll all come out burnt until you change something - more water in the mix, less heat, less time, something has to change. The same is true for running - adding mileage won't teach you how to run. It'll probably improve your cardiovascular capacity to a point - because you are inefficient, you're wasting energy. It takes more wind to get down the road, so your lungs get better. But what you're actually developing is the ability to survive your crappy technique. And it will only work until you get any one of the chronic running complaints - shin splints, plantar fascitis, ITB band issues, etc. You need to learn to run.
Here's Brian MacKenzie from CrossFit Endurance explaining one aspect of correct running techinque - the contact point:
Expect to see two things in the gym in the next few weeks: more emphasis on running in the workouts, and more time spent on running technique via drills. It'll be an adjustment, but I think the payoff is well worth it. I look forward to the day that we can enjoy running and not just survive it.