Archive for the ‘Running fundamentals’ Category

Running is a spinal activity

One of the most important yet misunderstood concepts in running form is that running is a SPINAL activity. This misconception leads to running against, rather than with, natural biomechanics, locking the hips and shoulders, and moving forward like a brick with legs and arms. Unfortunately, this approach not only works against the body’s natural mechanics, it can set the stage for frustrating runs, pain and, ultimately, injury.

A great way to observe natural running form is to visit a soccer field on a Saturday morning and watch the 4- and 5-year-olds play. They run with ease, effortlessly, intensely focused on the ball, not thinking about their form or how hard it is to run. Watch their shoulder girdle and their pelvic girdle – do they move like a brick with legs? Of course not, they flow, practically glide across the field, using their entire bodies, with movement initiated from their spines, unimpeded by the rest of their body. Continue reading

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The Four Essential Components of Running

Like most people, my first attempts at being ‘a runner’ were largely unsuccessful. “How hard could running be?” I thought. It took many years of trial and error to understand that to be a successful runner in the long run (bad pun, sorry), I have to be solid in four fundamental areas in order to enjoy sustained, quality runs.

1. Form first. Running is a repetitive motion activity, so form must come first. If your form is not good and you continue to run anyway, you are surely on the road to eventual pain and injury. Continue reading

Back in the saddle again…

After a few weeks off of running, I got up early this morning to run again, and I’m happy to say that all went very well. It was very satisfying to learn that I didn’t have to start over again, as I’d feared, but instead had a very pleasant run.

I remember a golf game years ago. Everyone else approached the game very competitively, but I hadn’t played in a very long time, and was in my years of having “a bad back”. So, my expectations were low and my swing quite non-aggressive. And I played one of the best games of my life. It is interesting to notice how trying too hard can sometimes interfere with performance. Continue reading

Runners: Don’t hurt the ground!

I’ve been fine-tuning my running form lately. As a yankee who lives in the deep south, summer is my off-season, a time to cut mileage, build strength and fine-tune my form. Each time I go out for a run, I’m focusing on one particular aspect of form. It’s not a well-planned thing, it just seems to come to me when I step out the door.

I’ve recently been working on my landing (I’d noticed that my left foot was landing too flat) and lifting my legs with both my hip flexors and my heel (I’ll describe this better in another post) and have been pleased with my progress. But I like to get to the point where I have some general image in my mind rather than a strictly mechanical, this-body-part-does-this approach. Continue reading

Balance your form, run for life

Children runningEighty percent of runners are sidelined with pain or injury each year – eighty percent! In an attempt to explain this phenomenal statistic, some have concluded that humans simply are not designed for running, that there is a fundamental flaw in the human design, or that only the exceptional escape injury. Others don assistive devices such as motion control shoes or orthotics, or do compensatory exercises in an effort to hang in there ‘til the next run, race or goal. Continue reading

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