Thursday, February 16, 2012

Good Form Running

I absolutely love my gym. It's an all women's gym that's not only pretty, but it they stay on top of trends in fitness and technology to offer a range of quality classes. This week is "Open House" week, so there have been a ton of special programs and classes.

Yesterday, I saw that some folks from New Balance were coming to run a "Good Form Running" clinic. I couldn't pass this up, and immediately signed-up for a session.

New Balance partnered with "Good Form Running" to make running more enjoyable for people and to help runners stay injury free. A gentleman from New Balance talked to us all about the 4 components of good form running. They are:

1. Posture
2. Cadence
3. Midfoot
4. Lean

This basically deals with making sure your body has proper alignment. You want your feet to face forward, a slight bend in your knees, relaxed shoulders, and to keep your head facing forward.

Did you know the average person has a cadence of 150-155 steps per minute? Well good form running suggests that we actually should run with a cadence of 180 steps per minute! It may sound like they're just telling you to run faster, but actually they're encouraging smaller steps and less time putting pressure on each of your legs. The speaker had a metronome that he used to show us the difference. Jogging in place at 150 steps per minute felt pretty comfortable, but the 180 felt fast! Definitely doable, but will take some getting used to.

Think about when you're walking somewhere quickly. What part of your foot is going down first? For most people, this is the heel. So it's no surprise that for a lot of people, their heel hits the ground first when they're running. This is a bad thing because it puts a good deal of stress on your knee. Plus running midfoot, forces you to take smaller steps, which ultimately uses less energy. The guy used the example of stairs, and how if you take the stairs one at a time, it's easier than if you're taking them two at a time. You want to save that energy so you can go farther!

Here our session leader had us lean as far forward as we could, until we were forced to take a step forward. Many people actually lean back when the run, and he pointed out that if you want to go forward, why would you want to fight that momentum by leaning backward? If you lean too far over and face the ground, you're sending your momentum downward. If you have good posture and lean forward, you're sending momentum where you want it.

I thought this was really interesting, and tried to keep these elements in mind when I did my speedwork on the treadmill. Definitely tough on that equipment, so I'm looking forward to testing this all out on my next outdoors run.

If you want more information on "Good Form Running" then visit the New Balance website.

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