Anybody can run around the block . .
But if you’re planning to make running a part of your exercise regime you need to be able to run the right way . .
We want to be as EFFICIENT as we can . . generate as much POWER as we can . . we want maximum SPEED . . and to prevent any injuries.
Depending on your body structure, the way you run is going to be slightly different than the guy next to you . .
What isn’t running? . . . Sounding like a 300 pound elephant running on the treadmill is a good indicator that maybe you can use some tips . .
Obviously our body structure is going to effect the way we run . . but the basics are still the same:
NUMBER 1: YOU NEED TO RELAX
In any movement, our bodies go through two muscle actions: concentric (muscle shortening, think hard part the movement, upward phase of a bicep curl), and eccentric (muscle lengthening, think E for the EASY part of the movement).
To be SUPER EFFICIENT need those muscles to switch from concentric to eccentric TOP SPEED . . so we can get more turnover with those strides . . which means activating as MANY muscles as possible . . if muscles are tight and under tension, we won’t be able to recruit as many muscles and it will be INEFFICIENT.
EYES FOCUSED 10-20 feet in front of you.
How you position your head IS important . . why ? because it will determine how the rest of your body is aligned and how the energy is transferred throughout your body.
You need them relaxed. Imagine your shoulders as pendulums . . low . . loose . . and level. No dipping side to side. As you fatigue those shoulders are going to want to creep up to those ears . . don’t you let them creep up!! You want them RELAXED. Give them a good shake if you feel them tensing up.
90 DEGREE ELBOWS . . ARMS FLY BACK
Vital to keeping us centred, gives us momentum in our run, and allows us to create that forward drive. 90 degrees with the elbow. You want those elbows FLYING back . . that’s the only direction you want them going. As those arms drive back it will cause a stretch reflex on your shoulder joint produces that upswing motion, in sync with your knee drive.
Arms should be facing forward at all times, that’s the direction you’re going, that’s where that energy should be directed. Make sure those arms don’t cross the body, this will cause rotation of your body, even if it’s a little rotation this will direct the momentum side to side, making you less efficient.
Open . . closed . . whatever works for you. Whatever you do, RELAX them. If you’re going closed fist make sure you’re not clenching . . we want everything relaxed.
TORSO IS IN LINE WITH HEAD & SHOULDERS
If your head and shoulders are in the right position your torso will reflect that . . if they’re out of whack, you’re in trouble.
Engage that midline, that trunk. Slight forward lean to support that upper body as it goes over the moving body. Visualize long extension through the spine.
CHEST IS EXPANDED
Chest is expanded, allowing you to breathe easy. Don’t let that torso hunch over too far in front of your centre of gravity, or else your pelvis will tilt forward and it will throw the rest of your body out of alignment. Again, inefficient.
HIGH KNEE DRIVE
High knee drive = more explosive hip extension and maximal power. You want to get that foot above the opposite knee. When that knee reaches knee height, drive that leg down full speed . . You want to spend as less time off the ground as possible. Make sure to land with a slightly bent knee.
Speed of leg going back = speed of your body.
LAND MID FOOT TO TOES
When that leg comes down you want to land with that foot strike directly under your centre of gravity (your hips). Keep that ankle flexed, toes pointed up toward the sky. (dorsiflexion).
Make instant contact with the ball of your foot (mid sole to toes) and imagine you’re pulling the ground behind you with your foot.
Newton’s law: “things in motion like to stay in motion unless acted upon by another force”
If you land on your heels, you’re stopping that forward momentum and causing stress on the knees. It’s like driving the car with your breaks on. You want that foot underneath your body every stride. This generates greater forces to throw that body forward.
Striking with the ball of your foot and pulling it through engages those posterior muscles (glutes and hamstrings). Now you have two of the most powerful muscle groups on your team, helping you bring your centre of gravity forward and create that forward momentum.
I know this sounds like a lot to take in . . so I suggest focusing on one thing at a time . . just remember to be relaxed with it and always be light on your feet.
NO ELEPHANTS !!
As you fatigue, your body will want to compensate and transfer energy into certain areas of your body that it shouldn’t . . so as a beginner you want to stop when you do feel fatigued or feel that your form is beginning to fail . . the last thing you want to do is re-emphasize that bad form.
In Part 2 i’ll go through the phases of conditioning you need to go through in order to build up your running training intensity.