Thursday, August 9, 2012

Good Form Running

Do you remember the episode of Friends where Rachael runs with Phoebe, and Phoebe's running style is crazy? My form is certainly not as bad as Phoebe's, but there is always room for improvement. My physical therapist recommended I attend a Good Form Running class at Playmakers, our local running store, so I finally got it onto my schedule this week.

There are four steps to good form running: posture, mid-foot, cadence and lean. None of these concepts seemed to difficult, but in running practice hard work to implement them. Posture is just what it sounds like - straight posture, knees soft, feet straight ahead. Seems pretty simple, right? They video taped us running before and after the class, and I've discovered I have excellent posture. Almost too excellent. My back is so straight that it creates tension in my shoulders and neck when I run long distances. Definitely something to work on.

Step two encompasses striking the ground at mid-foot instead of on your toes or heels. I tend to run more on my toes, and that probably explains some of my hip/knee problems. The third step is cadence or rhythm. Ideal cadence is around 180 steps per minute. We ran to a metronome to get the correct cadence. I had short legs and a short stride, and I thought cadence would be an easy one. But especially when I'm tired my legs don't turn over as quickly.

The final step is lean, leaning into a run from the ankles not the hips. I find lean the most challenging part, but as we worked on it I realized that the Olympic runners I've been watching have the lean down. In yoga you lean forward onto the balls of your feet in a forward bend. This kind of reminded me of that, and it's going to take some getting used to.

Yesterday was my first run implementing the good form running techniques, and it's going to be some work. But it's worth it if I can minimize my hip and knee injuries. That is something I'm definitely looking forward to.

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