Stop running with bad posture (aka “make sure you run up tall”)

Let’s say you are running on a treadmill and someone is viewing you from the side – you should NOT be leaning forward more than 1º or 2º.  But when runners get tired, the vast majority of them lean forward at the hip. This is bad because they are now striking the ground too far in front of their center, causing a braking force with each stride.  Not good.

The correction its cue are simple.  The correction is to “run up tall.”  Just say that in your head when you get tired – “run up tall.”  You’ll likely revert to a 1º-2º forward lean, which is ideal as you want to strike just a touch in front of your center of mass, pushing back into the ground to propel yourself forward.  Such a simple concept, such a simple cue – “run up tall” – but it will make a great difference in your pace in the final miles of a workout, a threshold run, a long run or a race.

The one thing to add here is that you need to strengthen your core – which includes the lower back and glueteal muscles, not just the abdominals – to be able to run with good running posture.  So when you hear people blab on and on about core strength, they do have a point.  If you do the GSM I prescribe, you’ll get this work in – work that I often think of as postural work.  Run with good posture and you’ll run faster.

 

180 strides a minute for runners

Simple question.  Do runners need to try to run 180 strides per minute?

I don’t know the answer.  I do know that Jack Daniels did an informal data analysis at the Olympics one year and found that across athletes, events and gender everyone was running 180 strides per minute.  Pretty interesting.

But then there is this evidence, from Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science, that shows that strides per minute is a function of pace run.  And for him and others (including Amby Burfoot) it is actually higher than 180 strides per second. [Read more…]

Posture

Last summer I had lunch with one of the best HS coaches in the state of Colorado. The name of a local runner, who also happened to be a national-class runner, came up and the HS coach noted, “he’s really good, but he needs to work on his form.”

“He leans forward to much,” I ventured.

“How’d you know?” blurted the HS coach, “have you seen him run?”

I had not, but my guess that his problem is his forward lean is correct over 90% of the time (at least when a coach thinks a particular runner should work on their form). [Read more…]