A simple way to improve your running positionMar 10, 2021
Pictured here is the wonderful pro triathlete, Paula Findlay. She might not like this picture as she just got off the bike. I love this picture because Paula displayed a fantastic running position and had the best distance per stride of all the females running in this race.
When running position and form is right, it looks like an athlete is running on a magic carpet. Anyone that has seen Mirinda Carfrae. running in Kona in the flesh knows what I’m talking about. It’s the ability to get the most out of every step to the point that it seems you get extra out of every step. Hard to do off the bike, but it is possible.
If we analyse Paula’s running position and look at her back leg in this picture, we can see that she got fantastic length from her stride, something we call “follow through”. That line goes through her leg and torso to her body. Have a look at the contra lateral length in her body (the amount of upper body rotation as an equal and opposite reaction to the leg.) Amazing! It was not always so, Paula worked hard and diligently through many obstacles to achieve this.
Now if we look critically at Paula (sorry P!) we can see that there’s a little tension in her shoulders and neck. If you also have tension in your neck and shoulders when you run, The first 3 cues of “Ten cues to transform your running” will really help you run with relaxed shoulders.
Your running position - releasing tension
So, how would Paula relax and release that tension in her shoulders and neck to increase the “magic carpet” effect even more?
If you find yourself in a similar running position, would you simply aim to increase your effort, embrace the “hurt” and suffer more during your run? I know that Paula has a huge capacity to suffer, she is hugely motivated and has earned the right to want it more than most.
Could Paula have squeezed more juice from tension, or simply wanting it more? Or perhaps she could get more out of the run from relaxing, letting her breathing and tension in her body soften and reducing her heart rate, while increasing fluidity and elasticity. The key here is to run with rhythm and timing.
Learning a few simple running cues will also help you dramatically improve your running form and posture. Sign up to my 10 Running Cues Program and I’ll show you how simple it really is.
How to be fluid and run with rhythm
Start by practicing it at rest or lying down. If you can calm your body and make it flow at home when you’re calm, you may find it appearing in your movement.
Rhythm allows you to relax. Staccato is not rhythm. 180 steps per minute to a metronome is not rhythm, that ends up staccato. That creates tension. If you believe “tight is right” then by all means use staccato.
To be fluid and run with rhythm, to free up movement and delay fatigue, you have to be of calm mind, breathe freely and be in the moment.
WATCH this short video where I demonstrate a great mobility exercise to release tension in your upper body.
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