Monday, April 29, 2013

Good Form Running

Last week I tried something new and went to two events offered by my local running store, Luke's Locker.  The first event was called yoRUNga on Tuesday night.  This event is hosted once a month and is supposed to be a 30 minute run followed by 30 minutes of yoga with a guest instructor from a local studio.  Unfortunately a cold front blew in last Tuesday bringing a bit of rain.  It wasn't too cold to run by most standards, but since we have Texas standards, the class opted to stay inside for the full hour.

It turned into an hour of mat pilates presented by Pilates for Life.  I've done yoga classes before and I've used pilates moves in my at-home workouts, but this was the first time I'd done a full hour pilates class.  It was a great combo of stretching, core strengthening and balance work.  It seemed like we did just a few reps of each move but I was definitely sore the next day.  The class was a good reminder to work on balance daily.  Try closing your eyes and standing on one foot.  If you can't do this for 30 seconds, you need to work on your ankle and core stability.  Many runners forget the importance of balance for a happy, aligned body.  The instructor of the night was wonderful at explaining all of the benefits of pilates.

On Wednesday, I returned to Luke's for a Good Form Running Clinic.  This was a free hour workshop where they talked about aspects that make up good running form and discussed problems bad running form can cause.  The greatest benefit of the night was when the instructor video taped each person in the class while we ran.  We were all able to see that night how we ran currently and what we needed to work on.  This individualized assessment was so worth it.

You've probably seen this handout before.  If you haven't, take some time to read it over. Source
I keep re-reading the handout we got at the clinic as reminders to myself.  The instructor showed me that I was locking my knees as I took a stride causing me to heel strike.  While I don't suffer from knee pain or shin splints, this could cause some damage to my joints and cause my quads to compensate for my calves.  The other thing I need to work on is my lean.  While I have good posture and don't bend from the waist, I also don't lean forward from my ankles.  I'm not using gravity to my advantage.  The instructor also told me I run like a T-rex because I tense up my arm/shoulders.  Now I think T-rex's are pretty cool, but Mark disagreed.

Since my running distances have remained short after my half marathon, now I focus on my form.  Running on the forefoot takes a lot of adjustment.  My calves are sore now, but they will thank me later. I'm already getting a lot better at not locking my knees out.  To make sure, Daniel and I went to the track on Saturday and videotaped eachother to see our improvements.  I think I will continue to do this periodically as a check, at least until good form comes naturally for me.

Do you run with good form?  What do you think about minimalist shoes?

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