Sunday, November 15, 2009

Running Form

"Correct running form to improve running mechanics, increase running economy. Correct running form reduces injuries and is not only for competitive athletes but also for recreational runners."

Practice has been going well. My weekly total is around 45K and this week I'll reduce that to half in preparation for Sunday's 10K race. Looking for some ways to improve my running I had previously mentioned that I started my routine with a Dynamic Warm-up. Last week I had some free time on my hand and used it to do some more research on improving my form. I found that many running/ marathon coaches and experienced runners had a very similar advice on running form. To improve running form one has to pay attention to one's stride length. According to many articles, top runners averaged between 90 and 100 full strides per minute. A full stride being that one foot pushes off and lands again. Combine this with a well-balanced upper body so that the center of gravity is directly under the body. When the center of gravity is under the body then feet also land under the body which will remove the breaking action of a foot landing in front of the body. Shorter ground time in long distance running increases the air-time and thus a continuous forward motion.
 I have tried shortening my stride length and increasing the amount of strides last week with good results. Running feels easier and with less effort. My time for long runs has improved a little and tiredness is less than before. One thing with short strides is that the ankles need to be flexed quicker to prepare for the next step. Keeping my toes up almost continuously has given some strain on my lower leg so my calves and shins feel a little sore. This new step will take about a month to get used to according to running experts. This form of running is often referred to as the Kenyan running form and has proven to improve speed and economic running.

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