Friday, March 18, 2016

How to PR by Run Technique: Series V

I hope you have enjoyed this series "How to PR by Run Technique". This Series V will teach us how head position, running tall, arm position, core, and the stride cycle all work together, and how to change our running mechanics.

All one unit. Now that we covered the basics of running form, an important take away is that everything unites to work together from head to toe as a single unit. All of these concepts combine and work together, creating a flow. Having one thing wrong in your form can cause a chain reaction throwing other necessary movements out of balance. What appears to be the problem may not be the problem at all. For example, if you notice a runner with an over-stride and tell them to just take shorter strides so their foot lands underneath them, that actually may not be the root cause. It could be the timing of their arm swing is off. A delayed arm swing or a hitch in one arm can cause a problem in the opposite leg for compensation. It's important to take the whole body into consideration when analyzing run technique and understand that running form is all synced together, acting as a single unit. 

Changing Mechanics. You have the information now to change your running form, but as you go out and execute your new knowledge, you'll probably notice it's not as easy as you thought.  It has personally taken me nearly two decades of running to get to where I am now.  This is where the actual coaching comes in. You could practice a bunch of drills that may help individual issues, but remember everything in running acts as single unit. Drills isolate the movement and the muscle recruitment is not the same as when running. It's best to practice your running form while actually running. To do this, cues are needed for the runner to connect the dots. For example,  if I said "Gaze 10 feet ahead of you, extend the hip back", etc. Like in swim training, you don't want to overwhelm the swimmer with too much information at once so you only recommend one or two cues at a time.  Every athlete is different based on their personalities and how they perceive and learn. Trial and error is used, as people understand cues in different ways. There has to be multiple ways of essentially saying the same thing and sometimes it takes several different paths for someone to learn a new technique and incorporate it into their normal running flow.  The ultimate goal is to have the improvement ingrained into the runners head so that providing cues is no longer necessary. Keep in mind there is a transition period from practice runs to race day experiences. On race day, we tend to resort back to our old habits due to stress. The benefit of having a  coach is to help you slowly transfer this over to where you can maintain good form on race day, consistently. The goal is to build the mechanics and techniques so that you, too, have elite running form.

If you have questions or an idea for another topic that would be of help to you, simply leave a comment. If you are interested in coaching, email me for an interview at

Thank you,