running form

Book Review- Your Best Stride

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SNAPSHOT

4/5 stars for the book Your Best Stride: How to Optimize Your Natural Running Form to Run Easier, Farther, and Faster- With Fewer Injuries by Jonathan Beverly (Former Running Times Editor)

DIGGING DEEPER


This gem was found while listening to the Strength Running Podcast by Jason Fitzgerald.

First, as a library loan, I realized this synopsis of all things running form related would need to be highlighted, referenced, and snapshotted for years to come.  Quickly Amazon delivered it to my door so that I could delve into it further with highlighter and living room floor at hand, highlighter for all the details and floor for all the practicing.  

This book has realistic exercises and tips on all parts related to form for runners to turn words into actions.

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Backing up now, YBS refers to many other authors and experts that I have gleaned good insight from in the past.  What is great about this book, however, is the weaving of knowledge and practical application from many experts. The author doesn't have the experts rival each other's opinion but lets them complement each other.   Thus making the flow of the topics clear and concise. Love it!

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This is why I recommend the book to you.  It is like 6 books in one!  I devoured it on Sunday evening.  Often trying out the different stretching or strengthening examples in between soaking up the information.

So what did I gain from this 200 page cumulated expert form guide?

ONE --- I knew it all along. I told my training partners during my first injury in my foot as an adult runner that it was coming from the hips.  Something is not right in my hips.  I knew it before the research was screaming it.  Yes, your running injuries are most likely from tightness or weakness in your hips.  

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TWO --- YBS did not suggest a long protocol that would take 1 hour of daily devotion.  It suggested to pick from several options and BE CONSISTENT.  Surprise, I agree too.  Primarily because my experience says consistency and program flexibility works!

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THREE --- Your arms matter.  Your posture, arm carriage, and shoulder mobility all impact your stride and running form.  After saving my legs but sacrificing my shoulder in a fall a few years ago, my stride was messed up until my shoulder was healed and mobile again. 

Many more points were made in the book and I am sure you will find yourself quoting and using the advice. I know I will be sharing them with my athletes! 

So why only 4 out of 5 stars? Videos, I want videos of the stretches and strengthening exercises. I like to see the movement.  Hence why I was on my living room floor testing out each move. Curiosity caught my 13-year-old cross country runner, as he joined in with me.

Checking out the iPod game posture to see how the curling forward of the upper body can shorten our chest muscles and limit our shoulder's range of motion.

Checking out the iPod game posture to see how the curling forward of the upper body can shorten our chest muscles and limit our shoulder's range of motion.

SOLUTION

There are several reasons I had an awesome workout today (4x800 intervals), but one of them has to be the gained knowledge from reading YBS last night.  I stretched my hip flexors, ran tall, drove my arms back, and powered with my gluts.  Thanks J. Beverly!

 

P.S. I gain nothing financially from this book review. I am just a runner that found a book and gave it 4 stars!

One Change Impacting 180 Steps/Minute

SNAPSHOT

One small change that will affect you 180 times a minute

Each running minute you take about 160-180 steps.  Each step is a chance to move forward with less effort and with greater distance.  The placement of your heels impact those steps. 

DIGGING DEEPER

This one change in your running stride will increase your speed, decrease fatigue, and lighten your step.

After your foot leaves the ground at the back of you, raise your heel to be horizontal to the ground, as high as your knee. Even better is when you tuck it under your glutes as you swing the leg forward.  A shorter leg is easier to swing forward to take the next step.

Incorrect Yellow Line - Heel should be lifted up to the blue line.

Incorrect Yellow Line - Heel should be lifted up to the blue line.

Correct - Heel is lifted to a horizontal level and as high as the knee.

Correct - Heel is lifted to a horizontal level and as high as the knee.

"Less flexion of the knee is a negative during the swing phase of running because longer levers are harder to move compared with short levers. Longer levers require more force and thus more oxygen to move. In addition, the foot represents a significant weight, and having a large weight at the end of a long lever makes it very difficult to accelerate forward." (Running Science by Owen Anderson, PhD)

Top picture- Heel is too low, causing extra work while moving the leg forward. Bottom picture - Heel is tucked near the glutes, causing less work each stride.

Top picture- Heel is too low, causing extra work while moving the leg forward. Bottom picture - Heel is tucked near the glutes, causing less work each stride.

View these videos below to see the correct heel placement during the swing phase of the running stride.  Thanks to my son, the freezing videographer, for his assistance during Winter Storm Stella! (We got 17 inches in less than 24 hours.)

SOLUTION

It is that simple. Next time you run, make each step easier by raising your heel.