Running Thoughts

Commentary on running, technology, and coffee.
Get Your Stride On - #2 (It’s All About Form)
Before thinking about stride increase and speed increase, you must first think about running form.
Start with the fundamentals. Focus on obtaining good running form. This takes practice and focus.
Form can be improved through form drills that coordinate the movements of the involved anatomy.
The first thing to understand is that running is a whole body exercise that requires that your entire body (and mind) is properly coordinated to move your body in the optimal way.
Running drills can help with this. Essentially, the drills, isolate the phases of the gait cycle: knee lift, upper leg motion, and pushoff. By isolating each phase and slowing the movement, the drills, when properly performed, aid the runner’s kinesthetic sense, promote neuromuscular response, and emphasize strength development.
A properly performed drill should lead to proper running form because the former becomes the latter, just at a faster velocity. 
Practice. In every run, you must bring your awareness back to form.  As is natural in running, your mind wanders. Bring yourself back and focus on your form.  This is especially true when your fatigued.  Refocus on form.  This will realign your mind and body; and in most cases actually reduce fatigue such that you reconnect to a running form that allows you to move efficiently with less effort.
Running fast but sloppy should be avoided. Run only as fast as your form allows.
Finally, running with correct form will reduce risk of injury.  It will also give you a more acute awareness of the components of your body that are involved in running and that need to be strengthened to promote faster running. (But that is one of our next topics…)

Get Your Stride On - #2 (It’s All About Form)

Before thinking about stride increase and speed increase, you must first think about running form.

Start with the fundamentals. Focus on obtaining good running form. This takes practice and focus.

Form can be improved through form drills that coordinate the movements of the involved anatomy.

The first thing to understand is that running is a whole body exercise that requires that your entire body (and mind) is properly coordinated to move your body in the optimal way.

Running drills can help with this. Essentially, the drills, isolate the phases of the gait cycle: knee lift, upper leg motion, and pushoff. By isolating each phase and slowing the movement, the drills, when properly performed, aid the runner’s kinesthetic sense, promote neuromuscular response, and emphasize strength development.

A properly performed drill should lead to proper running form because the former becomes the latter, just at a faster velocity. 

Practice. In every run, you must bring your awareness back to form.  As is natural in running, your mind wanders. Bring yourself back and focus on your form.  This is especially true when your fatigued.  Refocus on form.  This will realign your mind and body; and in most cases actually reduce fatigue such that you reconnect to a running form that allows you to move efficiently with less effort.

Running fast but sloppy should be avoided. Run only as fast as your form allows.

Finally, running with correct form will reduce risk of injury.  It will also give you a more acute awareness of the components of your body that are involved in running and that need to be strengthened to promote faster running. (But that is one of our next topics…)

Get Your Stride On - #1
This series is about increasing your stride length.  Because, let’s face it, without increasing your stride length, you will never be truly fast.
Consider the following.  A very small change in your stride length e.g. an inch or two, can make a difference of 10 to 20 seconds per mile. 
Consider also that most competitive runners have a cadence of about 180 that does not vary much.  But you watched the Olympics.  Competitive runners vary their speed by varying their stride length.
In this series of posts, we’ll explore how to increase your stride length and get your stride on.  After all, if we run, we must run fast.

Get Your Stride On - #1

This series is about increasing your stride length.  Because, let’s face it, without increasing your stride length, you will never be truly fast.

Consider the following.  A very small change in your stride length e.g. an inch or two, can make a difference of 10 to 20 seconds per mile. 

Consider also that most competitive runners have a cadence of about 180 that does not vary much.  But you watched the Olympics.  Competitive runners vary their speed by varying their stride length.

In this series of posts, we’ll explore how to increase your stride length and get your stride on.  After all, if we run, we must run fast.


Weight loss made simple.
Do not eat bread. Eat what is in the sandwich, without the bread.
Drink only water, coffee or tea, and your favorite alcoholic beverage of choice.
Other than (1) and (2), just eat sensibly. No other restrictions.
Assuming your exercising regularly, with this approach, any excess fat that you’re holding (e.g. spare tire) will melt off over a period of weeks and months.
You’ll actually notice the difference pretty quickly but the full effect will take some time so stick with it.

Weight loss made simple.

  1. Do not eat bread. Eat what is in the sandwich, without the bread.
  2. Drink only water, coffee or tea, and your favorite alcoholic beverage of choice.
  3. Other than (1) and (2), just eat sensibly. No other restrictions.

Assuming your exercising regularly, with this approach, any excess fat that you’re holding (e.g. spare tire) will melt off over a period of weeks and months.

You’ll actually notice the difference pretty quickly but the full effect will take some time so stick with it.

Why you need a core and strength conditioning

Speed

As you extend your stride or quicken the rate of your leg and foot turnover when you’re trying to pick up your pace, the lower abs-including the transversus and rectus abdominis-and lower back are called into action. The stronger and more stable these muscles are, the more force andspeed you can generate as you push off the ground. 





Uphills

The glutes and lower abs support the pelvis, which connects to the leg muscles needed to get uphill. If the core is strong, the legs will have a stable plane to push from, for a more powerful ascent. When you swing your leg forward, the hip-flexor muscles, such as the rectus femoris, pull on the pelvis. As you push off the ground, the glutes and hamstrings are engaged. 





Downhills

When you’re flying down a slope, you need strong gluteal muscles to help absorb the impact and counter the momentum of the forward motion. As fun as it may be to zoom down, without the core strength to control your movement, your quads and knee joints bear the extra pounding of your body weight, which can lead to fatigue, pain, and even injury.





Endurance 

As you’re nearing the end of a race, a solid core helps you maintain proper form and run efficiently, even through fatigue. With strong lower abs and lower-back muscles, such as the erector spinae, it’s easier to stay upright. If your core is weak, you may end up shuffling, slouching, and putting too much stress on your hips, knees, and shins.





Lateral Movement

Whenever you have to suddenly move to the side-to turn the corner on a track, dodge a pothole, or navigate undulating terrain-the obliques provide stability and help keep you upright. If your core is weak, then you may end up leaning into the movement, which can put excess weight and strain on the joints in your legs and feet.

A segment a day keeps the doctor away.
Great way to vary your standard trail runs.  Identify segments on your regular routes and target one or two per run.
This can be a great way to challenge your beliefs as to your known limits.
You can use Strava with a Garmin watch, an iPhone, or an Android phone.

A segment a day keeps the doctor away.

Great way to vary your standard trail runs.  Identify segments on your regular routes and target one or two per run.

This can be a great way to challenge your beliefs as to your known limits.

You can use Strava with a Garmin watch, an iPhone, or an Android phone.

Forefoot strike. 
With the correct running form and the correct cadence, you’ll achieve a light, tap, tap, tap running form that will propel you to the next level.
And you’ll feel better too!

Forefoot strike. 

With the correct running form and the correct cadence, you’ll achieve a light, tap, tap, tap running form that will propel you to the next level.

And you’ll feel better too!

It’s really all about running form.
Two specific examples:
When running intervals and you’re trying to maintain a faster pace, make sure you maintain form. Sloppy fast is not good. Fast with form is what you want.
When running on trails, especially hills, ensure you’re running vertically enough, properly aligned through the body, and running with a quick cadence on your forefoot. With correct form, you can run hills endlessly. (Well, almost…)

It’s really all about running form.

Two specific examples:

  • When running intervals and you’re trying to maintain a faster pace, make sure you maintain form. Sloppy fast is not good. Fast with form is what you want.
  • When running on trails, especially hills, ensure you’re running vertically enough, properly aligned through the body, and running with a quick cadence on your forefoot. With correct form, you can run hills endlessly. (Well, almost…)