If you want to become a better swimmer, you learn the technique of swimming right? You might even take a class.
If you want to be get stronger, you learn the technique of the main lifts right? You might even hire a PT.
If you want to become a better boxer, you learn how to throw a punch right? You’d even hire a boxing coach.
If you want to get better at dance, or footy, or shot put, or golf, you learn that skill and often, you'll have a coach.
Running... "No thanks, I'm just gonna run!"
Just because running seems "natural" or something we do from an early age, most people never take the time to learn the skill of running. It's just like anything else in fitness. It's a skill that you need to work on and optimise (if you want to stay injury free and reach your potential).
I'm by no means saying I'm an expert or that I do it perfectly. The point of this post is to question if you've thought about it and to start implementing some strategies to get better. And don't get me wrong, I'd rather see people out there then sitting on the couch. But if you're constantly getting beat up from running, you're probably doing it wrong.
What can you do instead?
A) Hire a coach.
B) Spend some time learning the technique.
How can you improve your running technique?
I like to refer to Dr Romanov's work when talking about the skill of running. He's responsible for developing the Pose Method.
The biggest issue we see is people stepping too far out ahead of themselves. This forces them to land on their heels, instead of the calf, achilles, feet and other structures of the lower limb. These are the areas that should be absorbing the impact.
Landing on the heels transfers the load to our knees, hips and lower back.
Run barefoot for 50m on the concrete outside your house.
Do you land hard and heavy on your heels like you do when wearing shoes? Or do you spring off the balls of your feet like you're supposed to?
Now try it jogging on the spot. I bet you're not bouncing off your heels here either. If you are then please, get help.
I'm not asking you to run barefoot all the time - just get a feeling for how you should be running.
Here are a few things to focus on when running:
Be as quiet as possible
Look straight ahead (not at your feet)
Lead with your hips and a slight forward lean (the faster you run, the bigger the lean)
Get your feet off the ground fast, and think of pulling your leg through with your hamstring
Just note that...
If you start to run this way you will be very sore in the calves and feet to begin with. This is because they've become de-conditioned from years of heel striking and running poorly. So make sure you're not biting off more than you can chew.
Start with 5 minutes of running on the balls of your feet and assess how you're feeling the next day.
Feeling good? Push it out to 7 or 8 the next time and so on.