Monthly Archives: January 2012

Running Basics

(from Northern Running Guide winter 2011/12)

An efficient running style is basically a circular motion against the ground borne out of a controlled fall through a slight forward lean. This position is so efficient because you move with the forces of gravity rather than against them. Consider a ball as it rolls; the momentum is created by the top of the ball moving forward (slight forward lean) as the bottom of the ball is pushing the ground away (feet slightly behind the body on contact with the ground). It needs a slight down hill to achieve this. On a flat, the ball needs frequent pushing, gaining and losing momentum each time.

Compare that of a runner who is upright with gravity on top or slightly in front pushing them back and the foot out in front (over striding), this becomes a stop/start motion, where the foot acts as the break in front on contact with the floor and the muscles have to contract to drive forward. Proponents of chi running, Alexander technique running, pose running and the barefoot brigade are all variations of this basic forward lean, gravity assisted position. The optimal running graphic at newtonrunning.com highlights this quite neatly.

Tip No 2. Lean very slightly forward

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Get in the Zone

(from the Northern Running Guide Winter 2011/12)

We were born to run so why is it now such a complex and costly business? My basic theory is that the very thing we were designed to do we have stopped doing altogether in modern lifestyles. We run now to avoid stress, get fit, find a higher purpose, socialise, and find our true potential. Running has in our time-short, diary-focused worlds become another appointment. Having sat all day at work or in the car, we quickly get our kit on and rush out the door, but we were designed to do it anytime, anywhere, just like kids. The consequence is stiffness in our muscles and joints, and our brain not engaged and ready to run efficiently and injury free.

TIP No 1. Leave it all behind, engage your brain to get in tune with your running style