Changing your run form can be a daunting task. Running is a whole body movement that requires skill and finesse. Run form is at the basis of your ability to run fast (remember.. speed is a relative term), efficient, and injury free. Running is also highly complex. From the waist down there are 65 bones (and even more muscles) responsible for moving, decelerating and re accelerating your body with every step.
First things first. When changing your run form you need to grab the low hanging fruit first. You should only worry about 1, maybe 2, things at a time. If you start a melting pot of a variety you will likely become confused, frustrated, and ineffective. Remember, structure is key. Pick a few things that can make the biggest impact first… your low hanging fruit. For most, this means working on overstriding.
Overstriding has developed itself into it’s own market. Countless articles touch upon the use of cadence meters to teach a runner how to improve to the magical 85-90 steps/minute. If it was that easy the epidemic would have been eradicated last year. A cadence meter generally lacks the structure to change you for the long term, if at all. Landing with your foot out in front not maximizes the grounds resistance against you, but also negates your bodies natural ability to absorb shock. Ditch the cadence meter and feel your movement.
Improving your foot placement is by far the single aspect of running that most need to improve upon. Don’t think of it as your foot though, you’re truly attempting to land on a bent knee. Land on a bent knee and the foot will fix itself. Foot placement is a dependent factor–dependent on your knee position. Fix the knee, fix your foot.
What Should I Feel?
Simply put, “awkward”. You’ve taken millions upon millions of steps with your old run form. You can’t expect anything less than feeling “strange”, “weird”, or “funny”. You will find it difficult to sustain at first, but don’t let that deter you. Changing bad habits and transforming your movement isn’t easy. Feeling comfortable with your changes takes roughly 4-6 weeks, the same being said for the sustainability of the new movement. It’s not over from there, though. In the presence of pain or fatigue your body will challenge you to revert to old, bad, habits. Instead of focusing on where the finish line is, focus on your form and what you should look like. Afterall, we all want to look good.