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…)