Sunday, May 15, 2011

Putting Your Best Forefoot Forwards

Thanks to the organizers, Epic-ESR (for Marina21K Run) I was able to lead a sizeable group in an interactive, practical-based run clinic this morning. I appreciate their open-mindedness and eagerness to learn. It was assuring to meet a few barefoot/unshod runners, who were proficient with running naturally. The best part was when I suggested all shoes off, and everyone enthusiastically removed their unreliable

In summary, we can focus on the following postural adjustment to improve our running effectiveness and efficiency.

1)    Run ‘tall’ (suck your belly-button against your spine)
2)    Warm-up precedes stretching; activate your gluteals (buttocks), hamstrings and lower-back.
3)    Lean slightly forward until gravity begins to take over: close your eyes occasionally to feel the lean
4)    Reduce the bend in your leg (more bent, more muscular effort required, thus more fatigue)
5)    Land flat, and ‘light’ (less sound preferred)
6)    Go back to basics: run barefoot as part of your warm-up
7)    Activate your proprioceptors (stand on one leg with eyes closed)
8)    Upright posture looks good but is more ‘braking’ in function
9)    Land on forefoot, smaller but more frequent steps

In addition, consider these sessions as part of your weekly training (10K or Half-Marathon): Long Slow Distance (LSD), tempo (hold the pace) and intervals (sets of faster runs interspersed into a shorter run session).

To run injury-free, add one kilometre per week to your long run. If you start with 5K, by race-day you will have hit 15K for your longest run (more than enough for your half-marathon). If you progressing from 10K to 21K, these incremental gains in distance will keep you fit and strong to a 20K long run. The 1K/week increment is a guide, yet it is adequate to test you if you had a tiring week, or had less sleep.

Add two short classes of circuit training, including core exercises every week. Focus on push-pull combination of exercise (example: push-ups followed by chin-ups; forward lunges and horse-kicks; Plank and side rotations with a medicine-ball). Never sneer at Jumping Jacks (worked for Jack LaLanne) and burpees (the non-gastrointestinal version). They activate your lateral (side of body) muscles which are, otherwise, not used during running (a predominantly unidirectional activity).

Note to self: Speak slower, especially when I get excited over the questions and topic.

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