Improving your Running Mechanics, Part 2
Yesterday, we explored Hips & Butts, Cadence, Feet, and Tango (so very closely related to Cadence!). While today’s points will by no means represent a full mechanical analysis of running – as it’s such a dynamic activity – it does encapsulate my favourite tweaks. Favourite because they are both effective and simple.
Today, I quickly review Head, Shoulders, Hands & Arms, and Core.
When I spoke about foot strike position yesterday, I mentioned the importance of trying to strike under your centre of gravity. Well, that’s a lot easier to do if the rest of your body is nicely “stacked”.
Let’s start with the head:
Your head is heavy. And when it slides forward (think “text-neck”) it gets even heavier. Your neck and upper back will have to strain to hold it up. And you curve ever so slightly beyond your centre of gravity. So, hold your head right above your neck. Keep your gaze about 20 metres in front of you. Even try imagining you have a toilet plunger on the top of your head and someone is gently pulling up!
Relax them. Keep them loose as well as low and back. This is where they are “meant” to sit, so despite being relaxed you’ll actually get better stability from them. AND in this position, they will help keep you centered.
Hands and Arms:
Relax your hands. This will help keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Okay, don’t let them flop around… but “soften” them. You know what I mean.
Bend your elbows at about 90 degrees and swing them forward and back. Naturally pivoting from that beautifully stable and relaxed shoulder!
There’s no question a strong core improves running speed and posture. Running with your pelvis in a slight anterior tilt (think slightly distended belly) will inhibit your abs from firing effectively and may force your hamstrings to work harder to whip your legs forward. Keeping your pelvis in a more neutral position, for one mechanically “stacks” your pelvis right under your head and shoulders. It also makes it easier to activate your abdominals to help drive your thigh forward, and stabilize the hips so each foot fall can be lighter.
Putting it all together:
I will repeat again, every runner is different. The “right” mechanics will vary greatly from one runner to the next. For many of us we’ve been running for decades. Making a complete overhaul of our running mechanics is not only difficult, it’s inadvisable: Our body has adapted to the specific stresses we have been placing on it for kilometre after kilometre; tight muscles are likely protecting a vulnerability or imbalance. Aggressively changing how we strike the ground, how quickly we turn over, how we hold our torso and head… may challenge the muscular and skeletal system too much. It can lead quite quickly to extremely sore muscles, joints, and, ultimately, injury.
Proceed with small steps. There is a more efficient, natural runner inside you. As you play with different subtle alterations you will find things feel “slightly more challenging in a good way”, or “more fluid”. You may find that running at a slighter quicker pace illicit both a slightly higher cadence and feels “harder” but “better”. Whatever you’re working on, do your best to keep relaxed. Breathe deeply. And enjoy being outside.
The sun is shining. The temperature unusually mild. I feel so lucky to be outside running. Flailing limbs and all.
Inspiration of the Day
“In running or in life, I’ve found it really important to not shy away from races, workouts, exercises, or experiences that I know I’m not great at or familiar with.” - Molly Huddle
Live Workout of the Day
Today we’ve got a couple of live workouts on the schedule.
MOBILITY & MUSCLE WITH LAUREN
Today, Lauren’s stepping in for Matt and bringing you your lunchtime pick-me-up! This workout will focus on the shoulder, hip, and ankle, moving you through a full range of motion. There will be additional stability work for the glutes and core included!
Recommended equipment: chair & towel
Join Lauren at 12:00pm (35 minutes) from your own living room.
Click here to join the workout.
Meeting ID: 892 2779 8538
ON CORE WITH GARTH
Garth’s back with another week of On Core, where you’ll challenge your core and stabilize your trunk in just 30 minutes!
Recommended equipment: light/medium dumbbell or weighted object (water bottle, book, etc.)
Join Garth at 5:30pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.
Click here to join the workout.
Meeting ID: 868 1155 7138
Click here to review this week’s schedule.
If you have any questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.
Trainer Moves of the Day
Looking for a little extra burn for your midsection? Join Penny for this core and ab focused bodyweight training with some Plyometrics for your legs thrown in!
For questions about today’s Trainer Moves you can connect directly with Penny here.
Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.