I recently attended a Good Form Running Clinic. It was held at the Naperville Running Company…aka the “dangerous” store according to Hubs (at least when it comes to my shopping habits!).
Two NRC experienced runners conducted the workshop. The principals we learned come from New Balance and Good Form Running. What is Good Form Running you ask?
“New Balance has partnered with Good Form Running to help more people make running a less-painful, more enjoyable, part of their lives. By reducing the strain that leads to injury, these four steps, as demonstrated by Olympian and Good Form Running Expert Grant Robison, work together to keep you on the road, helping you to run longer, faster, and more comfortably than ever before” (source).
We covered the four elements of good form:
1. Posture – We were instructed to stand up with a slightly bent knee, bring our arms to the sky and then let them go by our sides. This “reset” our bodies into a better posture. My take-home lesson from this section is to keep my shoulders relaxed. I also need to remember to keep my arms from crossing my center line while running, which is less efficient and causes the upper body to move more than necessary. I’m all about efficiency if I’m going to run 26.2!
2. Midfoot – Many runners are “heel strikers” and make contact with the ground with their heel first. This can cause injury or discomfort, and is less efficient than striking the ground with your midfoot first. Last year I read Barefoot Running Step by Step and while I haven’t been converted to a barefoot runner, I did learn a ton from the author – Barefoot Ken Bob (no kidding, check out his name on Amazon if you don’t believe me). In the book he emphasizes a bent knee and a midfoot strike (and silent foot steps), which I really took to heart. I’m happy to report that my film from the class (yes, we were filmed while running…no pressure!) showed no signs of a heel-strike. Phew!
3. Cadence – For efficient running your cadence (or the number of times you make contact with the ground in a minute) should be 180. This allows for conservation of energy, reduces your chances of over-striding and helps you run “lighter.” This was also covered in Barefoot Ken Bob’s book, and I frequently check my cadence after runs to see where I’m registering. I’m still only averaging 153 steps per minute, but I’m working on increasing my cadence little by little.
4. Lean – This running technique suggests leaning forward from you ankles to propel your body forward.
I was pleasantly surprised that this class was more of a refresher course of things I’ve already learned (through reading so many running books and Runner’s World magazine) than a course where I learned an entirely new way of runner. I don’t want to change my stride drastically. Rather, I just want to be sure that my running form is as efficient as possible. With increased mileage upcoming it’ll be important to make the most of my time and energy.
Check out Good Form Running for yourself with this YouTube video featuring U.S. Olympian Grant Robison!