As promised, here is the 2nd entry in our 7 week study on running form. Today (as we move up from the feet to the head) we have an entry on Stride Mechanics. This is an excerpt from my book 'Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed'
The stride is one of the most important aspects of
running (after, you know….breathing) and also the
Though many people will point to
the differences in runner’s stride length as a function
of height, the mechanics don’t actually change.
There are toe runners, forefoot runners, and even
heel strikers (ouch!).
There are “twinkle-toe”
runners (a minority yes, I was one of them for a long
time, knowing to go against the shoe companies and
not let their heels touch the ground, but not
understanding why and, therefore, never letting
their heels touch at all),
“gazelles” (stretching their
legs as far as possible, overstriding to the max and
destroying their joints with every counterproductive
“ballerinas” (pressing off at the
toes and bounding up in the air into their next stride,
heads vaulting with ½ a foot of vertical movement) ,
and “elephants” (clop clop clop, pound pound
There are also specific adaptations of each
making varying amounts of splash on the
mainstream including: Chi Running, Evolutionary
Running, Pose Running, Barefoot Running, and all
kinds of variations/combinations found therein.
With all of the approaches, all of the hype, and all of
the research and sponsorships from yoga classes to
University of Stanford marathoners, to CrossFit, to
the United States Military running programs, to the
myriad of conflicting, and self-serving, opinions from
the shoe companies, how in the world is anyone
supposed to actually “learn” anything??
Well, here goes: many of them are right, and many
of them (often the same ones) are wrong. Make
sense? Yeah, thought so… See, you have to take
bits and pieces from several different ones in order
to make something that “works for you” and is still
built upon efficiency and true injury prevention.
My personal form I suppose you could say is a hybrid of Pose, Chi, and
Over the next few weeks (Tuesdays and Thursdays), I'll be adding to this information and expanding on the notion of stride mechanics (what this series is all about). The next Tuesday will elaborate on this a lot with an entry on Lift Off.
Remember the principles: straight body posture, everything (toes, knees, hips, chest, shoulders, arms, and head) pointing and moving in the direction you want to be going, loose, loose, loose, lift your foot off the ground using your big muscles (the "Pull" in Pose) instead of springing into your next stride with just the use of your calves, land lightly on the ball of your foot and roll flat, breathe In the mouth and out the mouth, smile ;)