Running Form is by far the best way to get faster while decreasing the risk for injury
Above is a brief RunSmart Running Analysis of some of the best professional triathletes in the world. Their crazy aerobic engine allows them to compete at an extremely high level, but what happens when the guy next to you has the same training, determination, and engine? This isn’t just for professionals. When you and the guy/gal next to you are chipping away miles it’s going to come down to guts and efficiency. Can you spend less energy over a given distance and minimize the forces acting against you?
Most athletes lend themselves to increased braking forces. Think of it as ‘tapping the brakes’ in your car. Every ground interaction that occurs away from your center of mass lends you to slowing down, not to mention devastating forces through your joints. Changing your run form takes time and dedication. There’s no over the counter remedy or packaged good that can improve your run form. You need to identify and fix your own poor habits. Our run form is based on movement patterns, which built upon learned motor programs. Our learned motor programs are automatic, habitual. Without commitment to changing habits your run form suffers.
In the presence of fatigue, pain, or boredom, you will resort to what you once knew… learned habits. Storing a mental checklist of drills can help battle breakdown and ultimately, resulting back to poor habits.
Improving your form and efficiency can begin at any time. It takes commitment. If there’s no structure or understanding to the “why” behind the changes you’ll likely give up. The “why” gives you a reason to fight. A reason to keep striving for improvement. Feeling comfortable with your new movement patterns can occur in as little as 4-6 weeks. From there you refine and repeat, eventually rewiring your nervous system to fire the new habit.
Swallow your pride. You might be fast or slow, but everyone can benefit from being analyzed. If you were going skiing for the first time I’m fairly certain you would seek the advice of an instructor or a friend who regularly hits the slopes. Running is more than lacing up your favorite shoes and pounding the pavement.
Understand the ‘why’. You can get as much advice as you can mentally handle, but if you don’t understand the why behind changing your movements the overall retention and application of drills and explanations will likely be short lived. It generally helps to have visual feedback.
Learn. Feel. Be patient. Most runners stray off path (YES! I worked in a pun!). They rush it and risk injury or equally worse, give up on it all together. Remember, your movement takes weeks to feel comfortable. If you’re doing it right you will likely be uncomfortable and feel “weird”.