Run Efficiency Tip Number 3
Welcome back to the F.A.S.T. blog. My goal is to provide the athlete with practical training tip which separate information from knowledge.
Posts one and two focused on arm drive, torso rotation and posture as they relate to run efficiency. Today our focus is foot strike and cadence, aka turnover.
The saying, "maximal is not optimal," applies to many areas of sport. The longest swim stroke often results in a loss of proper mechanics. A heavier baseball bat may result in a slower bat speed and the longest run stride does not equal greater speed or efficiency.
Minimal is not optimal, applies to stride length also. Several running methodologies have taught a short stride, foot strike on the very front of the foot, and a very high ( 190-200 plus) cadence. This might work for some individuals, however watch the NCAA Cross Country Championships or the Olympic Marathon and not one runner will exhibit this form.
What will you see in the best runners?
Cadence should be tested. Count total number of right foot-strikes in 30 seconds. Multiply times two ( two legs) and then by 2 again for the total in a minute. ( E.G. - 42 x 2 = 84 x 2 = 168 - so a bit slow) If your in the 172- 180 or a bit more range your good. If your slower your foot is spending too much time on the ground. Remember that arm drive dictates cadence. Drive your arms faster and your cadence will increase. Practice this with a metronome set slightly higher than your current cadence. For example if your at 168 set the metronome to 172. Stand with a staggered stance and drive your arms so they match the beat. Take this a step further by downloading a metronome unto your phone, and with headphones (in a safe area) run and match the beat with your arms. Legs will follow . Avoid falling into the trap that faster cadence means faster pace; same pace, same effort, just faster turnover/cadence. I once ran 11 miles (by myself) with a handheld electronic metronome set at 174 beats per minute. May sound crazy but by the end of this and a couple shorter sessions, this cadence was my new motor pattern and I could pull the beat our of my mind anytime. Especially at the end of races when form begins to suffer.
Hope these run tips have proven useful. Practice just one at a time. Chase three rabbits and catch none. I know someone who offers a great run evaluation and really enjoys them. His contact info is found at fastandyou.com
The next FAST blog will focus on recovery for increased performance.
Welcome to the second edition of our blog. My goal is to provide practice training information and help you separate information from knowledge.
In Tuesday's blog post we focused on the importance of arm drive. An arm drive in which the elbow drives backward and when coming forward travels in a path that would result in the index finger going up the nostril, can greatly improve efficiency.
Posture - the word may sound boring, like your mother or choir director telling you to sit up straight. However in the quest to run faster, longer and with less effort, posture is critical. In great runners, as they drive or toe off, we see a straight line through the ankle, knee, hip, shoulders and head. The body is in about a 5 degree forward lean and the eyes focus about 20 meters ahead. See photo below of Jan Frodeno - widely considered the best triathlete in the world.
Just looking ahead 20 meters will help greatly improve flow! Another tip which I use, and people report works well, is as follows: Imagine you have a string attached into your sternum. As you run, this string is continuously being pulled up and forward at a 45 degree angle by God or whatever you imagine. This lifts the chest off the ribs so you can breath and helps with foot strike position, which we will discuss in the next blog.
Welcome- Run Efficiency tip #1
Welcome to Coach Dwight's blog. My goal is to provide athletes with common sense training tips and help them separate information from knowledge.
I have spend many decades teaching runners to move at a faster pace with less effort. ( efficiency) In the past several years there have been many articles published promoting the idea that an athletes' natural run form is what nature created and coaching to improve this is a waste of time and effort.
Would you apply this same thought process to an athletes' swim stroke? How about typing? There is a reason my mother can still type 60 plus words a minute. It's called efficiency - practiced proper technique.
Your arm and torso motion plays an important role in run efficiency. The elbow should drive backward as if it is driving nails into a wall behind you. (Elbow angle should be about 90 degrees) This puts a stretch on the pec muscle and thus the arm pops forward. When it does it should travel at an angle that if continued would result in your index finger going up your nostril! This arm drive pattern and angle should naturally encourage a small rotation of the upper back/shoulders which helps in the athletes' efforts to create "flow." Hips do not rotate along with the upper back.
Next time you head out for your run make it a goal to improve your arm drive and torso rotation. It will show up in improved efficiency and assist greatly in maintaining speed at the end of races when your leg muscles are questioning your sanity!
Dwight Sandvold is the Owner of Fitness and Sports Training SC. He has dedicated the past 35 years of his career and life to the Coaching and Sports Medicine fields. A veteran of over 180 triathlons he has qualified for Kona three times and Boston 4. Dwight and Janet have been married 36 years and have 3 boys all of which participated in Division 1 college athletics.
"Dwight does a fantastic job of training individuals. He has a lot of personal experience and professional experience, which allows him to bring a unique skillset to each session. He is very easy to talk to and I learn something every time I have a personal training session with him. Highly recommend for the triathlete or anyone looking to up their endurance/sports training."