Improve Your Running Style With Expert Analysis
What does this mean? It is that look which exemplifies elegance and efficiency of movement. The face that exudes relaxation and a body, which displays an absence of effort. A gliding and floating across the ground. A body in harmony.
We all recognise when we see a master exponent play their sport. There is a look and feel to what they do. In the same way we can all appreciate a great tennis backhand even if we don’t play, we are all able to recognise effortless, elegant running.
For a paradigm example of the latter and the extreme opposite you need look no further than the London 2012 800m running final where David Rudisha took the gold and the world record looking as if he wasn’t going to break sweat and the youngster Nijel Amos came in second with limbs flailing.
It was a thrilling race and it beautifully illustrated the concept of “more speed for less effort”; you don’t need to be an expert to know that Rudisha looks efficient and Amos doesn’t!
Let me be clear and unequivocal, in my view, there is no ‘Method of Running’, but there is a ‘Way’ particular for you.
Given the unambiguous and calculable nature in which each joint rotates in all its dimensions (mainly 3!), every bit of every step is describable, internally palpable and replicable.
We have efficiencies of movement structurally ingrained into the shape of our bones, the articulations of our joints, the interwoven nature of the soft tissues and within the responses to activity of our changing, living brain.
We can relax in the knowledge that our bodies already know what to do. Whilst we may have unconsciously adopted bad habits we have no idea how we can unravel them if efficient movement is the goal.
Efficient Running is the process of discovering where your tension lines lie and exploring ways to give your body more space in which to move fluidly, effortlessly and comfortably.
As much as every runner I’ve worked with has had a unique character, there are similarities between them that fall into a finite number of traits. The most common is that of being driven, determined and often with a lean towards perfectionism. I cannot emphasis enough that ‘trying’ doesn’t work. Please, please don’t read words about ‘how to run’ and then head out to ‘try them’.
My ambition is to create a shift in perception and watch runners start to find ‘better-for-them’ through self-exploration and self-awareness. You cannot run ‘like this’ or ‘like that’; you can only run in the way your body’s invisible lines of tension and restrictions enable you to. Your body’s way of running is its current safest option. And if the shapes you make when you run feel uncomfortable or painful, lumpy or ‘not quite right’, the solution is not to ‘try doing something else’ but to find and ease the restriction to enable your body to find a better way.
For ‘try’, use let.
Rather than ‘do’, explore.
Replace ‘placement [of any body part]’ with sensing stuff.
For push, e-a-s-e into.
If you feel strain, it’s a red flag – back off! It doesn’t mean ‘don’t explore’, it’s your body simply saying move more slowly and/or don’t move as far in that direction for now.
Delete ‘no pain, no gain’. There is no substitute. It was just rubbish right from the start.
Be Kind. If you can’t be kind to your own body, who’s going to?
To ‘action’, ADD thought. If you’re not thinking about what you’re doing how is your brain going to be fully engaged with what’s going on? How will you ever experience the awesomeness of … make more use of the feedback provided by your senses …?
Seek out lines of tension, discover ways your body enjoys releasing them and then – with that increased freedom – explore how to use that new space.
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You might be new to running, cycling, swimming or multisport – and you might not know where to start. You might be an old hand at your chosen sport – but you’ve plateau’d; or worse, you’ve picked up niggles that hold you back and don’t seem to go away. Either way, you might appreciate a little help. The routes to arriving at the decision to work with a coach are many and varied, and as personal as the coaching provided by one of the team members at Ten-Point, Helen Hall. The most common are:
There is no such thing as perfect running posture, only more or less efficient running posture. By ensuring that a biomechanical assessment incorporates both static postural assessment as well as posture analysis whilst in motion, it is possible to reveal what would hold you back in terms of speed and endurance. Movement is a series of postures, so it makes sense to make posture assessment and alignment a key element in finding ways to increase running speed and running endurance. Helen Hall, our specialist in endurance athleticism and minimalist ultra-distance running, can help you identify the weak spots in your technique and thereby help achieve the best running efficiency.
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