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24 Hour Runner - PBs and No More Knee Pain

Running, everyone knows how to do that. It is as simple as putting one foot in front of another, breathing as and when required and looking where you are going. In many respects this will serve as running, this will get you from one place to another quicker than walking. However, running efficiently, correctly and economically is a completely different ball game. For those people who want to become quicker runners, avoid those typical injuries or run for longer periods of time. Even the slightest of differences to your running style, technique and gait will be integral in allowing you to do this.

The Running School has been founded with the intention of teaching, developing or perfecting the way that people run. I went to Chris Kay at the running school as what I would consider a competitive runner. I have been running since the age of 16, originally as a way of keeping fit to play football (now I avoid playing football in order to avoid injuring myself for running!) but have since taken part in numerous races or events ranging from 5km to 100 miles.

The reason I went to Chris was because although I have run fairly regularly for the last nine years I have certainly never been taught. Running is generally a skill that is developed over time, some people have good habits, it comes naturally to them and they both enjoy and excel in it. Many people have bad habits, it can be a struggle both physically and mentally and is a challenge from the outset. I would pitch myself somewhere between these two camps, but it goes without saying any runner from a complete novice through to Olympian can always benefit from a fresh opinion, correct advice and a little bit of motivation and support.

Prior to my initial assessment, I went through what my goals and aims are with Chris, unlike the majority of runners my primary goal is not to get quicker and break PBs, instead my A goal is a 24 hour race in July, with the intention of going for 24 hours my brief for Chris was to make me a more effective runner, avoiding the areas that typically suffer following long distances and to make me as economic as possible.

My initial assessment, was a relatively quick but not pain free experience.  I had been suffering from a knee injury for a number of weeks, which I had been running through as much as possible but it had been affecting my mileage and mood. Chris checked that I was fit enough to be observed on the treadmill of which I was and he filmed me from a variety of different angles at differing speeds and inclines. We then went through what he had observed. It was evident I was running inefficiently, I was putting far to much stress on my knees, especially the problem knee and this was also attributing to the shin pain that I nearly always have to varying degrees. Chris showed examples and clips quickly making something that so many people have little understanding of seem simple, it wouldn't take drastic changes to put things right but I did require tweaking in quite a few areas and all of this combined would.

Things needed to change, and change they would. Over the course of the first few sessions Chris introduced the adjustments that needed to be made. Originally they were all over exaggerated so that I could really feel the difference and effect of each change of movement, although originally unusual and often difficult to adjust to. The regular tips, pointers and help given by Chris meant that I soon began to feel more comfortable with the new style.

Since one assessment session and three training sessions with Chris, all carried out on the treadmill I have been hugely impressed with my progress. Firstly, I have shaken off the knee problem that was becoming an increasingly big hindrance before visiting the Running School. Although my goals haven't been for speed I have broken both my 10km and 5km PB's and even won my first ever competitive race. My weekly mileage is now consistently higher than it has been for a couple of years and I feel that I have been given the tools in which to hopefully continue this trend going forward. Chris has also helped me introduce the new style of running into my slower speed runs which will be the ultimate aim going forward and will hopefully allow for me to run for longer periods of time with less effort and less stress being placed on my body.

I would recommend any runner to go and visit The Running School. For those who are complete novices it will allow you to start on the right foot, build your running gradually and with the support and advice that Chris and his team offer. Alternatively to those who have run for years and regularly compete, there are always adjustments that can be made to finely tune or in some cases completely overhaul the way that you run and positively effect your running future.