Thursday, January 17, 2013

Good Form Running Clinic!

I attended a Good Form Running Clinic at a local running store last night.  I was for sure that I wasn't running right and so I wanted them to help me figure this running thing out.  I was a bit nervous, because I wasn't sure what to expect and I was pretty sure I would be the "one" in the group that was doing it all wrong.

We started off by going outside and having them videotape everyone run one by one down the block.  Another gal said they usually have you run 3-5 we were pretty lucky:)  We ran the first time in our shoes and then the second time in just our socks. 

After they videotaped us, we learned the 4 key things to keep in mind while running.   The class was taught by the store owner, a local chiropractor (who is a runner and specializes in running injuries) and another avid runner/running store employee.

Here are the steps:  (there are actually more than 4...because there are several steps within each category)

1.  Good posture:  First you stand tall.  Point your toes forward.  Your toes should be forward at all times.  Not out to the side.  Not pointed in. 

Reach to the sky and reset your posture several times during your run.

 Keep your head looking forward instead of down. 

Your arms should remain in a 90 degree angle and when you move them back and forth they should form a triangle from your back to your elbow.  Not sure if that makes sense as I type it, but you don't want your arms flailing all around.

Your hands should be in the position as if you are running with an ice cream cone.  No tight knuckles..pretend you are holding a delicate cone and don't want to break it.  Your thumbs should be placed on top of your hand in this position.

2.  Midfoot:  they say this is key in order to prevent injuries in your legs, feet, knees, and basically every where in your body. 

We did several (bad) exercises and then they helped us find our midfoot. 

To find your midfoot they suggested to march in place.  You shouldn't be running on your toes and you shouldn't be running on your heals.  Midfoot is exactly how it sounds...your mid-foot.

3.  Cadence:  This is confusing to me so I am still trying to figure it out.  I need to figure out how to change my stride without changing my form.  My form was pretty much spot on, but they said I need to work on my cadence.  Cadence is your stride per minute.   They said to aim for a cadence of 180.  This  will take time.  To measure your cadence count the number of right foot strikes for 20 seconds and multiply by 6.  Our teachers suggested to keep track of your cadence during 1-2 runs per week and for only a minute or two to see where you are at.  There are different devices you can use like a beeping metronome or songs on where you can download songs with certain beats in line with certain cadence goals.

Run light and avoid pounding.  When I head out today...I am going to start listening to my steps.  I think I may be pounding....not sure though.

4.  Lean:  Lean from your ankles without bending at your waist.  In order for use to figure out where our lean was they had us stand on our heels and then sway forward to where our toes start to grab the ground.  This is your lean.  It should be pretty slight. 

Some other tips:
-- Run barefoot indoors or outdoors for 20 meters right before you start your run.  This will put more tune into your body's mechanics.  Not sure how well I will abide by this tip...I know some people swear by running barefoot...not thinking that is me.
--March in place prior to your run with your ankles flexed, landing on midfoot to help reinforce a proper mid-foot strike.
--Reset your posture throughout your run and work on it when you aren't running.
--Practice one new skill at a time.  They suggested cadence first.
--Video tape yourself.  They used a program called Coaches Eye on their i-pad.  It was really cool because they could slow down our runs so we could really see how we were stepping, leaning...etc.
--Do strength building exercises...after the clinic I spoke with the store owner and she suggested this to me as well.  I knew this...and have been working on my leg strength.  I was not blessed with pretty, lean, strong legs.  So this is something that I feel...and know I am dragging along in my runs! 

So that sums it up.  If you have a chance to attend a local Good Form Running clinic in your is definitely worth it.  Many of the people who were at the clinic were analyzed at using a bad running form...and guess what seemed to be injured all of the time.  I am not saying that by following these tips you will be completely injury free...but it is worth a try.

Here is the website for Good Running Form.  Some great visuals for the visual learner.  One of the handouts we received is on their front page.  They also have a Facebook page.

If you have any questions in person...let me know.  I am not an expert...I am simply regurgitating information from the trainers:) 

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