Over the last ten years, I have worked with many runners, both amateur and elite, to improve their running form, eliminate pain, and hit personal records. Within a clinic and coaching setting.
I always ask the same question to every person in my clinic and when they desire to be coached by me.
“How often do you practice running form?”
The usual answer is “NEVER”
Ask any football or rugby player how much they practice techniques and the answer would be at least 2/3 times a week for up to 3 hours at a time. If you dig further and ask how much they practice the mechanics of such activities as shooting, serving and kicking, they will tell you its EVERY day with warm ups and drills.
All athletes practice the mechanics of their sport. The ability to perform an action does not ensure the performance of the action is efficient, coordinated, and biomechanically correct. Equally important, simply doing an action more times doesn’t mean the mastery of the action itself.
If mastery of running form only depended on running more miles, we should see a drop in injury rate with more miles run, this is not the case. Instead, the injury rate is relatively uniform when runs add up to more than 35 miles per week.
The usual reason why up to 80% of runners get injured year on year is that they believe running form is a fixed trait. They attribute injuries to external issues such as their shoes, orthotics, and training plans to avoid placing the blame on the internal issue of their actual running form.
Running form is definitely not a fixed trait. Running is a skill to be mastered rather than a preprogrammed, fixed skill. It needs to be broken down into its individual components and practiced just like every other sport.
Although we are all born to run, it doesn’t mean can neglect the need to practice and perfect the skill. In order to run distance, avoid injuries, and run for a lifetime, it is imperative that you practice your running technique. By recognizing running as a skill, any runner of any age can improve their running form.
The question then is?
How do you practice running form?
When I teach running form, I never know what parts of my teaching runners will remember or, more interestingly, how they remember it.
One of the drills I regularly practice with my coached athletes is a forward trunk lean. There are many cues I provide, but one, in particular, that seems to work well is to run with your chest forward. This cue really helps to grasp the right form when trying to run.
If you’d like to know more about your running form or to improve it then get in touch. Here