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Fundamentals of Finding Your Stride

turkey trot

With another Turkey Trot in the books, I figured how could there not be a better time to go over a few points to tweak our running technique. My love for running started as an H3 program intern, and as a full-time member of the H3 squad, I’m amazed of how much this sport motivates our guests. Many of our guests come in never expecting to participate, but in the end push themselves to where they think they can’t go, while enjoying the experience.

Personally, I see running as not only an opportunity to challenge yourself, but at the same time it allows one to remain free and relaxed. Every time I go out for a run, I honestly learn something new about who I really am as a person. We’re beginning to see a popular trend in the sport, and the best part is every single runner has different goals – anyone can compete. If you’ve ever experienced these feelings then you probably know that the single best feature of running is that it’s INTENSE no matter who you are.

Walking, jogging, and running come naturally to many of us, but have you ever been taught the proper technique? A lot of the time we tend to focus on the aerobic benefits of cardiovascular training (which don’t get me wrong is phenomenal), but if you’re looking to improve your running performance it’s important to take a step back and find your stride. In any sport, improved skills can lead to better economy of movement with additional savings in energy. Why is this important? It allows you to exercise for a longer duration (stamina), improve your times (new PRs!), and probably the biggest gain is that you’ll experience less running related injuries.

Running is very complex with many actions that we will not even begin to go over; today we’ll focus on the key elements that will get you off and running.

1.  Posture – chin on chest, shoulders slumped, back humped over, arms nearly straight or held in front of the chest crossing the midline – these are probably the biggest energy wasters when it comes to running technique.

–          Keep chin high, eyes looking into the distance

–          Shoulders relaxed in line with your trunk

–          Arms should remain close to your side with a normal rhythm

How to improve? Have a friend shoot a video of you running, check the cues.

2.  Vertical Foot Movement – “Pose Method” of running technique formulated by Nicholas Romanov. The basic tenet is that runners should experience his/her feet moving up and down – not swing backwards and forwards.

–          Recovery foot lifted toward butt, fall straight back down to surface

–          Keep a small acute angle with knee under your hips (“short pendulum”)

–          Increases stride rate and makes a runner more efficient

–          Diminishes impact forces, thus reducing injury

 3.  Minimal Support Time – This one is all about your foot strike. The distance you move while running is determined by how long your feet stay on the ground. In a nut shell, shoot to decrease contact time with the ground and eventually aiming to land on the ball of your foot.

–          Three types of landing: Heel Strike, Forefoot Landing, Mid-foot Landing

–          As a heel striker, runners  become way more susceptible to injury especially to the leg bones, ankle, knee, hips, and lower back

–          Gradual progress and work on your foot strike – Do not go from a Heel striker to Forefoot

 4.  Minimal Vertical Oscillation – too long of a stride where your foot is ahead of your trunk. This results in bouncing up and down on each and every movement even creating a greater impact.

–          Create horizontal movement by landing on mid-foot

–          Foot should strike just slightly in front of your center of gravity

–          Lean from the ankle (a straight line should be able to be drawn from ear-hips-ankle)

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