Steering in Atlanta

Atlanta was a blast! It feels good to have a couple more race experiences under my belt and it was fun competing with some of the top Canadian and American hurdlers (view results). I also met some members of the Track and Field Athletes Association, an international group dedicated to growing the profession and the sport of track and field, and providing a strong voice on behalf of track and field athletes. More to come on this exciting group soon!

The 400m hurdles is proving to be a very interesting event. First and foremost I’ve learned that the wind is always a major player. I’ve taken to walking around with my finger in the air everywhere I go, testing the direction and speed of the moving air and imagining how I might alter my running rhythm if I were faced with these conditions in a race. Rhythm is everything in 400m hurdles, and a little wind behind you or in your face can send you way too close to a hurdle, or chopping your steps to add a last minute stride if you’re too far. Either way, rigidly maintaining a given rhythm and having to make these last minute adjustments is not ideal – it takes a lot of effort to recover your balance and composure as you continue around the track to the next hurdle. This choppy adjusting has been my main challenge thus far, especially around the second corner of the race. It is my prime focus for the next couple of weeks to iron out a good rhythm!

Treasure Trophy SteerMaking the appropriate adjustments while approaching a hurdle is often referred to as “steering”. I see this both in terms of driving a vehicle with a steering wheel, as well as involving a big bull – a steer. It basically feels like I’m driving a bull. It isn’t an easy task to change your stride pattern mid sprint in order to cover more or less distance and successfully negotiate the hurdle. But I’m ready to grab the bull by the horns and direct it where I need it to go – I’m going to steer the steer! As I get better at adjusting for the hurdles from farther away I anticipate the bull part of the definition will go out to pasture…

Much to work on, much to love.

Shout out to all the track stars from London Western Track and Field Club representing their high schools at WOSSA – as always, do your best and have fun!!

One thought on “Steering in Atlanta

  1. You’ve got a great strategy and unbridled enthusiasm (see what I did there ;-D ) – an excellent combination. Sounds like you are following your own advice, Jen Marie – doing your best and having fun!

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