Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 4th, 2011
How’s your form?


www.experiencelifemag.com

Beginners have often asked me about running form. They want to know exactly “how” to run and I’ve always told them the truth: I’ve honestly never thought about it. Ever. I just put one foot in front of the other and run at a pace that my lungs/heart can handle.

Hey, I never claimed to be Frank Shorter!

But, I’ve been thinking about my form lately because, among other things, it is likely to blame for my ongoing injury woes (current diagnosis: high hamstring tendinopathy).

Curt Cardman of Impact Physical Therapy says I over stride.

When someone says “over stride,” I think of those runners who seem to have a leaping run.

Not so. In fact, over striding is simply the act of your foot striking the ground in front of your body which, instead of propelling you forward, actually halts movement and causes all that weight and pressure from your body to crash down on that foot, like a hundred million times in a 10-mile run (OK, I may be a little off on that number, but you get the point).

Where should your foot be striking the ground? Directly under your body.

How do you accomplish this? Skip. Yes, skip like a child.

Go ahead, skip for a bit…I’ll wait.

OK, so did you see how it’s impossible to place your foot anywhere but under you when you skip (otherwise you will fall over)? This is where your foot should be when you’re running.

I do skipping drills now. This means that I periodically stop in the middle of my run to skip-to-my-loo for a bit before breaking back into a run (at which point, my legs, accustomed to skipping, are now directly under me…until I slip back into my lousy form).

Does that make any sense? Try it…and you’ll see.

Just skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip (to the next telephone pole or whatever)…..then take off running. Feet are under your body now, right? Feels different…almost effortless…you will feel as though your foot is now actually propelling you forward, instead of stopping you short.

I found this terrific and easy-to-understand guide outlining the basic skill elements for running form. It’s a nice guide you can print out and it’s quaint because there’s all this adorable Brittish language in it — like “whilst” and “metre.”

I found the form guide at this site where, if you scroll down and look to the left, you’ll find some cool stuff like links to their Essential Checks videos.

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