Posted by: Drew | January 23, 2007

Good form: what it means to me

The kind folks at Equivita have developed a torture… er… training plan for me, and it’s focused around good running form.  I’m learning a lot, and my brain is now working overtime on my runs to focus on what my body is doing instead of solely on “keep on going.”

For those of you may be wondering what exactly do I work on to have good form, here’s my mental checklist. 

  • Separate planes for each footpath.  Sometimes when I get lazy, my right foot crosses over in front of my left.  In addition to actively making sure I don’t do this, we’re incorporating various leg exercises during the strength training portion of my session so that my legs “don’t want” to do this anymore.
  • Smooth, long strides.  The more tired I get, the shorter and louder my steps are.  By training with a longer stride, I’m teaching my body to cover the same amount of ground more economically and I’m using full range of motion (or at least more so) with each step.  Smoother strides will lessen the jarring impact of running on joints and transfer the energy to bones and muscles.
  • Actively using stabilizing muscles in my core to help steady my upper body and keep good posture.  The ability to maintain good neutral posture while running will further lessen the impact to the wrong places.  An upper body with little superfluous motion will enable the body to concentrate on using most of it’s energy in the legs, the engine driving the machine. 
  • Loose arms and shoulders.  Tensing up and shrugging while running is using energy you could be putting towards actually moving somewhere.

So there is a basic list of things I’m looking at in the mirror and focusing on while running and walking.  It’s a lot to have on my mind while moving.  But I have faith that if I can train my body and mind properly to do these things without thinking that I will have a machine at my disposal that will be more responsive to what I want to do: run.

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