Diane K./8:17/16:53/26:48
Chris M./9:03/17:49/27:22

Are you a Swinger or a Stomper?

Hey Team! Here’s a recap of the recent O2 Endurance Run Clinic with Coach Bryant. If you missed it, I’m sorry (it was GOOD!) but you can watch a little video (the sound isn’t great) and see some of the drills. Those of you that did attend, I suggest watching again too. Remember, change doesn’t happen over night, we have to keep at it and keep at it until we get it, and then keep at it some more.

Most of us have something we are working on or trying to smooth out with our running. Many of us have several things! To start improving NOW, pick one. Remember what Coach says, “The best way to effect change and see results is by focusing on one thing at a time, and then give it time.”

Luckily there is ONE thing we can all do to improve – STAND UP TALL. Good posture isn’t just a healthy habit. Standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back, chest up and eyes straight ahead says you mean business! Try to imagine a string on the top of your head being pulled up to the sky. I also like to imagine a string tied to my waist, keeping my hips high and guiding me forward.

Speaking of hips! You’ll see many runners shuffling or swinging their feet as they go. Sometimes you can even hear them coming. Which means they won’t go far, or very fast. Pick up those feet! (Check out the drills in the video to practice this tip.)

Ideally your foot should make contact with the ground directly underneath your body, rather than far out in front of it. A helpful way to think about this is “putting your foot down underneath your hips.” When there’s a straight line from your hips to where your foot lands, there’s no reaching or stretching the leg in front of your body. (See one-leg drill)

Another tendency a lot of runners have is slamming their feet down on the ground because they are trying to lengthen or stretch out their stride. This really just causes a hard, jarring impact with the ground that can result in pain and injury. So, whether you swing or stomp, practice picking up your feet to cut injury risk, and run more fluid and efficiently.

Then add cadence. That’s the number of times your feet in the ground in a minute. Turns out the higher the better. A quick cadence, lifting the feet quickly after they touch ground, means less jarring and impact on the leg muscles and joints. Using a Garmin or other device is an easy way to keep and eye on cadence, but you can also just count your foot falls in a 60 seconds. Experts say, shoot for about 90 taps each foot. A number above 80 is a great place to start. It’ll seem faster than usual, and you might feel your heart rate elevate. That’s ok. As aerobic athletes we rely on our cardiovascular system to do some hard work. The body will adapt and it will get easier, and you will get fitter. Giving your knees, feet, ankles and joints a break will mean they last longer, so you can run longer too.

So, stand up tall, pick up those feet and keep it quick. Take one thing at a time and keep at it for a month. Fast runners – run deliberately. Just like dancing, pay attention to your feet but don’t over think it and you’ll be flying.