Fit Friday: Good Form Running

Hooray for the weekend! Did you have a good week? Let’s talk a little form over function, shall we?

It’s funny what you can take for granted, like running. It seems like the most natural thing! Turns out, I guess like most other sports, there are tips you can follow to maximize your efficiency, reduce injuries and be an all-around better runner.

Thanks to 1st Place Sports, Jeremy and I were able to take a free Good Form Running seminar to learn what it was all about. You don’t have to sign up, you don’t have to pay, so why not, right?!

1st Place Sports actually sponsored the July 4th 5K we did and has a ton of running info on their site.

We showed up a little late (it was a work day and I’m always late leaving) and everyone was already out behind the store. Lining up to run! I almost left (Jeremy caught me). Have I mentioned before that I’m the most self-conscious extrovert you’ll meet? It’s stupid but true. Luckily, the other people and the 1st Place Sports employees (one guy timed and explained and another videoed everyone running) were so helpful and nice. I’m glad I stuck it out–even though I felt like throwing up, lol.

So here’s what happens:

  • Each person is filmed as they take a turn running at their normal, comfortable pace for one minute (30 seconds out and then 30 seconds back).
  • You all watch and cheer for each other. I was lucky to have a fun group!
  • As a group, you go inside to watch and analyze the individual videos.

This is the 1st Place Sports employee telling what we were all doing wrong. And we were all doing something wrong, haha.

  • After a while, we noticed trends. People seemed to make similar mistakes in just a few ways, like too much tension in their neck, going too slow, going too fast, locking their knees, etc.
  • Once we saw for ourselves how we all ran, he discussed the Good Form Running techniques. There are four elements to good form.

Don't versus do.

  • Once the learning was over, we all were taken back outside to practice. It was really hard to change the way you run. Especially when you are feeling tired or self-conscious, you tend to fall into your natural form. It was interesting to practice mindful running!

Here are the four key elements:

Step One: from goodformrunning.com

  •  This one I was actually good at except for the arm angle. I hold my shoulders up and my neck stiff. The video showed me running using my chest and shoulders for momentum. I ended up overcompensating and looked like Lurch from the Adams Family 🙂 Baby steps.

Step Two: from goodformrunning.com

  •  Every single person in our group landed on their heel. Even the guy wearing shoes designed to enable mid-foot landing, which was funny. He couldn’t believe the video. This will defintely take more practice.

Step Three: from goodformrunning.com

  •  About half the people in my group were in the right spot on cadence (85-90 foot strikes per minute). I was at 75. Obviously a turtle. But, a bit part was my long strides and landing on my heel. By keeping your feet under you and taking shorter strides, you can pick up the pace with less effort.

Step Four: from goodformrunning.com

  •  This was the most interesting to me. It is so logical and easy to mess up. The 1st Place Sports guy recommended getting a feel for the correct lean by standing and then leaning forward. Right at the spot where gravity starts to take you and you have to put a foot out to catch yourself from falling is the position should be in to run. Gravity should propel you and your muscles should work just to keep you there. We practiced these “falls” in the parking lot and it probably looked hilarious to passers-by.

And that my friends, is good form. Have you heard of it? Have you ever been told you have a distinct run? Give these tips a try. I’d love to hear about your experience. Anything to make running easier and more effective, right?

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