Throughout life, it seems we are all always working towards something. As we start 2017, I have a number of goals: I want to grow in steadfastness and patience. My husband and I want to save up our money to support our friend as a missionary overseas. I want to row competitively (for the first time since college!) this summer. I want to train to swing a 70lb kettle bell overhead 20 times in a row. We talk a lot of game around our goals and lofty dreams. But, I don’t think we give enough thought to the process along the way. The “how” ALWAYS matters. It’s usually makes or breaks whether or not we achieve our goals.
The same is true in running. We shouldn’t just start logging miles without giving a moment's thought to how we are moving through those miles. I have never considered myself a runner. Even as a young girl, I preferred anything in or on the water. On land, I felt heavy-footed, sluggish, fish-out-of-water in everything I tried. However, I found that the better I got at the movement of running, the better athlete I became on the water. So, I converted! But I had a long way to go to become a “good” runner.
Believe it or not, no matter what shape you are in human beings were built to run. Our bones and muscles, nervous and cardiovascular systems work together in harmony to propel us forward and varying speeds throughout our entire lives. It’s glorious if you really think about it! However, after years of improper movement, genetics, sedentary lifestyles or injury most people run improperly in a way that at best is limiting their performance and at worst is leading them on a collision course with acute and chronic injury. This is why we have to spend time thinking about and training HOW we run.
There are two components to the running gait: the flight phase and the ground phase. They are just like they sound: the flight phase is when the foot has no contact with the ground and the ground phase is when at least one foot is on the ground. Both feet should point forward and they should land directly under their respective hip. The contralateral (opposity) arm should be forward as the foot strikes the ground. Eyes should look ahead, not down at the ground. The spine should be in neutral, not arched or hunched. The shoulders should be relaxed.
As the rear foot leaves the ground, the ipsilateral (same side) hip should be fully extended entering into the flight phase. Ideally in the flight phase, the best runners in the world (from Kenya) only ride 4 millimeters from the ground. This is the most efficient way to run. The only difference between running at an all out sprint pace and a slow jog should be your cadence and stride length.
Have you ever thought about HOW you run? If you want to become a better runner, come and check out our running mechanics Fly Lab to get insight into the knowledge faults, learn how to make your gait more efficient and get tools to supplement your training.
Running Mechanics Fly Labs:
Saturday, Jan. 14, 10:00 | Saturday, Jan. 14, 12:00 | Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m.