Form and function

Finally! Got a workout in on Monday. It seems that Mondays are my favorite day to slack, but not this week. 30 minutes on the trail and a good pace this time. It seems I’ve banished walking breaks (famous last words)– this is 4 in a row now without walking.  Today’s was a tough go; my tummy was not feeling very good.

A coworker of mine struggled through a lot of running injuries and discovered the Chi Running techniques and they helped her, so today I read up on it to see what all the fuss was about.  It seems straightforward stuff, some of it I already practice.

  • Lean forward: I might have to borrow someone to get a good look at me while I run.  I feel pretty straight up and down.  I tried to lean more today, and not lean from the waist but let gravity pull me forward.
  • Midfoot strike: Pretty easy; these shoes kind of enforce it.  My minimal shoes tend to encourage me to forefoot strike, but I wore the squishy ones today.
  • Feet pointing forward, landing below the body, not in front: Check.
  • Heels up: This was hard for me!  My gait is a shuffle at best; my feet don’t get far from the ground.  (More than likely reason #1 I’m slow.)  I tried to pull my heels up more as I ran; it felt good to do but it was a struggle to keep it up, especially as I got tired.  I credit this for my slightly faster run today; I cover more distance per stride when I’m not shuffling.

Anyone out there have experience with running form? Have I got this mostly right?

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3 Responses to Form and function

  1. tamerri says:

    Most of the tips are solid. I’m in a local store’s running program that has coaches and mentors to help us out. I’ll share what I’ve learned. It’s only been 8 weeks, but I havent had a single shin splint or injury so I’m a believer. :)

    -The lean- I’ll skip the science part: if you take both hands and make a triangle, then place your thumbs at your navel, where your fingers are now pointing is where the push forward/lean should come from (yes, it’s around your groin area. Lol) It controls your leg movement and stabilizes your core.

    – Don’t kick your heels. I thought it was the way you were supposed to run, because that’s what I saw “real” runners do. It’ll destroy your knees and isn’t efficient. You want to have a cadence to be around 180 (each should hit the ground 90 times, in one minute). It takes time to reach that rate, but the closer you get the more efficiently you’ll run because you’ll put less weight on each foot, each time it hits the ground and you’ll run faster. If you kick your heels, it requires uncessary work to get at 180, plus it’s brutal on the body. You don’t want to shuffle your feet, but you don’t need to kick.

    -Also, watch your stride. When I started, my stride was too long. I didn’t notice it, but one of the running group mentors pointed that out on my first run and it made a WORLD of difference. The smaller steps eliminated shin splints and ankle problems I always had, when I tried running on my own.

    Again, it’s only been 8 weeks. However, I’m 60 lbs overweight and haven’t had a single pain, except general soreness. I’m signing up for the 10k program, that starts next month, in large part because I’m seeing improvement without too much beginner’s pain (except for feeling like my lungs are going to bust from my chest). Hope this helps!

  2. Tori says:

    I do all of those listed except leaning forward, at least as I’m feeling it. I have a hypermobile low back already. If I let my pelvis get an anterior rotation, it’s harder to keep my core engaged, and my low back recruits way more than it should. This messes up things in my hips, yadda yadda yadda.

    If I keep my pelvis in neutral, everything feels fine. I’m just more upright.

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