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Running Clinic for Good Form

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Sunday I attended a Good Form Running Clinic at my running store. WOW, it was so informative. I am so glad that I found this. Often we think that running is left, right, repeat. The more miles I have been logging while training for my upcoming Half Marathon; the more I would think about my running form. I tried to concentrate on my strike and figure out if I ran with a heel strike or a mid-foot strike. I couldn't tell, but was leaning towards the thought that I was a mid-foot striker.

Towards the beginning of the class we were video taped running in our running shoes and then again running in our bare feet. The instructor then went through the 4 important things for good form running. 1. Posture, 2. Mid-foot strike, 3, Cadence, 4. Lean.

1. Posture - When running we should have good posture, with arms bent at 90 degrees. The arms should swing from the shoulders and should not cross the center line of your body; moving from hip to mid-chest. Hands should be loose, cupped as if you were holding ski poles. He said that may people when they run stick their butts out. To correct this lift your hands straight over your head. This straightens your spine an pulls your hips back in. You can do this mid run, when you feel your posture slipping. Either while running, or stop and re-set.

2. Mid-Foot strike - To have a mid-foot strike your foot should land underneath you. This gives your knee joint a lot of support and minimizes injury. If you heel strike, your foot is out in front of you and your leg tends to lock, leaving you more prone to knee and hip injuries. WIth a mid-foot strike your stride is mostly behind you.

3. Cadence - The target cadence is 180 per min. This can be measured using a metronome which can be downloaded as an app on your phone. I don't carry anything when I run and another option was offered. When you are running, count how many times one foot hits the ground in 30 seconds. To have a 180 cadence, you should come up with 45 (45 X 2 feet = 90 X 2 (to make a minute) = 180). This cadence promotes a short, quick stride and a mid-foot strike.

4. Lean - For good form running, we should be leaning from our ankles. Do not lean just the upper body. Leaning from the hips promotes sticking out your butt. Leaning from the ankles keeps your body in line, promotes forward motion and keeps your feet under you.

They then showed video of some of the best runners in the world. After what we learned it was fascinating watching the professionals run. There were all different forms. Even some of the top runners, flail around. Just think what they could do with good form.

Watching our video was interesting. I have never seen myself run before. I am a mild heel striker. Yes, a heel striker not a mid-foot striker, and not balanced. I hit stronger on my right side. Of course one person in class had nearly perfect form. Besides just seeing ourselves it was good to see what everyone else was doing. The reason they had us run barefoot, is that we tend to run with a mid-foot strike when we are barefoot. We do not have the protection of the shoe. Although he is a proponent of minimal/barefoot running, he said that the goal was to get us to run as if we were barefoot, in our running shoes.

Yesterday, I went out for a 6 mile run and concentrated on the 4 points of good form. My arm positioning had been good, I just needed to adjust how I held my hands. This was fairly easy to remember throughout my run. I think I was doing better on a mid-foot strike. I shortened my stride and felt as if my feet were under me. I felt my stride move behind me, instead of in front of me. Leaning... I think I was. Cadence... after a short warm up I counted my right foot strikes for 30 seconds. I came in right at 44/45, so I counted a few more times. I had been tired when I started the run and it was very humid out, as it had been raining all day. I could feel my cadence slipping, so a few other times during the run I counted. It took a lot of concentration to work on changing my form. I felt like I was running slower (with the stride behind me), but I had a faster time than I had been running on my training runs. Could I be running more efficiently? Maybe. I have 2.5 weeks until my HM. I will keep concentrating on good form and see if I can make it feel more natural before my race.

There is a website that the class was based upon. If you are interested in checking it out, you can find it at: http://www.goodformrunning.com

Happy Running!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good stuff! Other that what's been necessary to learn for protecting my hip, I hadn't thought about other aspects of form since high school, lol. Thanks for sharing- I'll be putting this to work tonight!
    3525 days ago
    This was really helpful, I am just reading it now. Thanks so much for sharing what you learned!!
    3525 days ago
    Thanks Hope-used these tips today for my run because I know my form is not good; what a help!! Felt better and better for the knees.
    3559 days ago
    Scary topic....but I shall try to be a mid foot striker!!!!
    3569 days ago
    Thank you for sharing! Very helpful and concise info!!

    3579 days ago
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    Thanks for a good blog! I'm trying to perfect my form too, and the more i learn about good form, the more i realize how bad my natural form is/was. Pretty much make every running mistake there is to make except for slouching. So, I'm working on it, but i'm finding that it is really hard and feels really strange to run the 'right' way. So for the time being, i just am doing 'right way' and 'wrong way' intervals, lol. I figure running the wrong way is still more beneficial than walking. And i am trying a little bit of barefoot running too, but i feel like that is majorly straining my plantar facia, so i'm taking that pretty slow. Just a mile on the treadmill every other day.

    I really really have to keep my eyes peeled for a clinic. Who knows maybe what i think is the 'right way' is also all wrong. Either which way, i am enjoying my training and that's the whole point.

    3580 days ago
    Great info!!!
    3582 days ago
    I went to a very similar (if not the same) presentation a couple of months ago. I did try for a couple of runs to adjust my form, specifically to increase the cadence and work more on mid foot strike. My time did improve greatly also, but I discovered tht I was utilizing a whole different set of muscles, so decided to wait until after my halfs this fall to try to work on changing my form and make that my winter time project. We'll see how that goes.
    3582 days ago
    Thank you for this blog! Very interesting to read in more depth about good running posture. I was noticing this morning that at the beginning of my run I had a good mid-foot strike, however, after some speed-work, at the end of my run I was tired and leaning backwards into a heel strike. Reading your blog, that could explain why my knees tend to get sore towards the ends of my runs - my form must slip! Thank you fro this information. Very useful! I hope it serves you well in your training and upcoming half marathon.
    3582 days ago
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