My Left Foot

THAT'S the one! Umm... no... hang on a sec...

THAT’S the one! Umm… no… hang on a sec…

The other day I decided to have a quick interval session on the treadmill at work. Well, it was more of a fartlek really, because I kept forgetting to keep an eye on the distance, so just bumped the speed up and down whenever I damn well felt like it.

That attitude pretty much sums me up when it comes to running: I’m a renegade maverick lone-wolf loose-cannon and I play by my own rules but, dammit, I get results!

Actually, that’s not true at all. I’ll try to be more accurate: I’m a bumbling chancer and I make it up as I go along, constantly hoping that my legs don’t fall off.

That’s better, and it brings me neatly back to the point of today’s post…

I’ve never been a massive fan of treadmills. As well as being mind-numbingly boring, I find that they’re neither as much fun as running outdoors nor as effective. One thing they are good for though (although not always welcome) is holding a magnifying glass up to your running technique. The controlled, repetitive conditions tend to highlight problems; problems that are undoubtably still there when I’m running outside, but I’m just too busy going “wheeeeeeee!!!!” To notice.

This is an awful lot of waffle, just to get to a very small point. On Sundays session, I followed a general pattern of recovery jog at 9km/h for a couple of minutes, then bump it up to 15-16km/h for around 400m. I repeated this a few times and played around with the speeds a bit, but then I noticed a thing happening…

Whenever I ran at a fast pace, my right leg cycled smoothly, with the foot lightly kissing the belt of the treadmill before pushing off again*. My left foot, in contrast, was like a 10kg sack of spoons, clumsily belly-flopping down with a loud slap.

If my right foot was Robert Downey Jnr, then my left foot was Elmer Fudd.

As the session went on, I became more and more conscious of Mr Slappy, to the point where I knocked the pace down a bit just to avoid deafening my fellow gym-users with every other step.

So, I’d welcome suggestions as to why this might be. Am I just naturally asymmetrical? Do I just need to do some core exercises or strength/conditioning work? Is it due to low midichlorian levels? Is it the work of some shadowy government organisation, using my cack-leggedness as a stepping stone to world domination?

I’ll leave it with you, but in the meantime here’s a video taken on the day in question. I should point out that I had no idea this was being filmed, which is why I appear to be leading with my tummy.
CREDIT: the person who made the vid (and who can be seen gurning happily at the camera) is colleague, friend and fellow run-to-rememberer Matt Bond.



* I really should point out that although my right side felt as graceful and fluid as I’ve just described it, that’s only because I was comparing it to it’s ungainly twin. To the casual observer there probably wouldn’t have been much distinction and I’d have looked, left AND right sides, like a fat man trying to tap-dance an ant colony into oblivion.

3 thoughts on “My Left Foot

  1. I can help here! Early in my running career (I just called it a career to make it sound proper – it should say “in previous runs”) I pretended to be a duck in order to fix my ungainly gait and slappy left foot. It only bloomin’ worked too – you should try it.

    • You mean I have to eat tons of bread and fly, squawking like a winged demon, into the faces of terrified schoolchildren? On it!

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