This is the third section of ‘how to change your run form’. We talk about generating free speed by decreasing the forces acting against you.
Improving your run splits comes down to two areas: your effort and your efficiency. Improving your running efficiency or economy comes down to decreasing the forces that are acting against you. So let me relate the StarWars picture back to running.
Our lives are ruled by forces. No not that kind, Mr. Skywalker. I’m not speaking to the telepathic properties from Star Wars, but rather to the extrinsic forces of gravity, wind, and the ground as they relate to running.
Plain and simple—if you want to run faster you can either try harder or decrease the forces acting against you. Since I’m assuming you’re working at the right effort for the given race or training run, were left with the forces acting against us.
If you want to run faster you can either try harder or decrease the forces acting against you.
To get a grasp on how forces change our speed, consider a couple scenarios:
- Running uphill increases the force of gravity acting against us. You’re obviously not going to have your fastest race a course like Mount Washington Road Race, which climbs 4,500 feet in 7.6 miles. Likewise, you can all Darth Vader on a course and use the force (of gravity) and run a downhill marathon and set a PR by decreasing the forces acting against you.
- Run with a parachute on. Using a parachute increases the resistance of wind on your body. It’s why running into a head wind stinks. If we can decrease these forces, we’re obviously more efficient and using less energy for a given force.
Runners continually seek “fast” courses or chatter about how a head wind killed their chance at a PR. We are consistently trying to influence forces that we have no control over. You can’t control the terrain (other than choosing the race), nor can you control the wind. Well, maybe you can—drafting?
What if there were forces that you could control. Forces that, if you influence them correctly, you can immediately benefit from gains in speed. Remember, you can do two things to run faster, try harder or decrease the forces working against you.
The ground reaction force is what we are speaking to. The instant you touch down in the gait cycle the ground pushes back and, unless you’re Chuck Norris, the ground wins. The ground causes your body to fold and accept the forces applied to it.
The picture above displays a yellow force vector indicating the effect of the ground on the body. It’s fairly obvious that the ground is a driving force backwards and unfortunately, it’s how most of us run. This counter-productive backwards force is your parachute per se. It’s a dragging force that decreases running economy and makes you work harder for any given effort. If you’re wondering if your run form looks similar to this… our experience would lead us to believe that the answer is yes.
Remember, decrease the forces acting against you and the result is FREE SPEED. It’s like a free downhill, parachute-less run. Our side view analysis or full analysis are both utilized for injury prevention and efficiency enhancement to keep your running your best with less injury.
Decrease the forces acting against you and the result is FREE SPEED.
When you think of improving your running mechanics think of us. We’re your “Obi Wan Kenobi”… you’re only hope. (Ok, that one might cost me some ‘nerd’ comments.)