THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RUNNING APPROACHES
COACH BEN EXPLORES THE COMMON MYTHS AND USEFUL TYPES OF RUNNING TECHNIQUES
Ben Conway GSR Bsc (Hons)
The Running School Bristol
Running Style: Is it important?
Technique is important. Often disregarded during sporting activity and the adolescence years, running effectively can land a huge impact on your performance and injury risk.
It is essential as an athlete to ensure you are performing your sport to the best of your ability and to continue developing your technique throughout your sporting career. Why as a runner are, we different?
Correcting inefficacies within your running style will not warrant complicated changes and years of practice, rather a dedicated period to simple and positive changes that will reduces loading amounts, improve the effectiveness of your cycle, and increase performances.
Injuries I have commonly seen in clinic within the running population often stem from two main reasons, the first is Overload which must be addressed to prevent reinjury. The second is Technique, without improvement in your technique you will continue to run the risk of unnecessarily overloading areas of the body that do not have the capabilities to absorb such load demands. Equally you limit your true speed and distance potential.
Below I lay out a couple of techniques that are often mentioned to myself, and why here at The Running School Bristol we do what we do, and successfully may I add!
From my understanding, of simply reading articles and researching approaches through videos on this style to running it looks to inherit the qualities of Tai Chi’s controlled movement patterns and relaxed approach into running.
The aim of Chi Running seems to address a focus on effortless and natural movements. Key points surround focusing on a Tall and upright posture that targets loading the skeleton rather than overloading the musculature system.
A second key point the Chi Running principle focuses on leaning forward. The important message is that the forward lean must come from the ANKLES rather than the hip joint. It is a lean that requires practice to develop and perform accurately.
Finally the third principle stresses landing in a midfoot position. After reading around Chi Running this favorable foot strike pattern encourages a runner to land underneath themselves rather than out in front of their center of gravity.
Upon reading into this approach to coaching a runner, the purpose was developed to ensure injury risk was reduced and an individual can run further and do so more quickly.
The key points surrounding Pose Running begin with understanding the running pose.
One of the key compensation I see as a running coach is an individual Over-striding, this in layman’s terms means your foot is striking the floor outside you center of gravity. In running this is not advantageous, in fact, it adds greater load through joints and bones rather than allowing the muscles to absorb the forces, and in turn can promote injury risk. A more immediate effect for those runners out there Over-striding is that it slow you down. I don’t need to go into too much detail surrounding Ground Reaction Forces but the longer you spend on the floor, the more frictional contact you’ll have with the ground.
Therefore, you want to limit the time you maintain contact with the ground, Over-striding does the complete opposite to this.
Over striding – what it really looks like.
A visual demonstration of a common problem the majority of runners experience throughout their running career.
If you were to get an assessment of your running style, find out that you were Over-striding, then you would want to work with your running coach over a minimum of 3 sessions to correct the habits that are at the root cause of the problem. I always inform my clients of the tough nature behind trying to alter running mechanics, especially for someone with 20+ years of running under their belt. By tough I really only mean the great amount of test on your cardiovascular system. The changes will get your neuromuscular system excited and force consious thinking from the brain to elicit these changes correctly. As a result, your brain uses alot of energy to wokr hard, then you have to remember you are out running too. The hard work pays great dividends into your running career, reducing injury risk long term.
What we do here at the Running School Bristol..
After having a Running Bio-Mechanical Analysis to highlight areas to work on, you will then move onto coaching sessions. Many people have not been taught how to run and think that running is something that you pick-up naturally. Running is a skill and we can coach that skill in all levels of runners to help them run better, more efficiently and faster. We have helped people from all walks of life, who want to run for fun, keep fit, or participate in races at a serious level.
Running is simple, but it’s not easy! We help you to achieve your goals, by coaching you to move better and then run better.
In order for you to see improvement the necessary assessment and coaching cues are important but it does boil down to practice and repetition. There is no two ways about running, it is a repetitive exercise that requires the highest efficiency. Therefore so many people love to run and why we love to develop all levels of runners to being the best they can be.
How we do it, coaches insight
As someone who has coached hundreds of runners looking to achieve all manners of times and events you start to build a clinically proven approach to coaching and getting the best out of any type of client.
Our first running coaching session will look to introduce you into the running skills and drills we think would make the biggest impact on your current movement patterns.
Our second session is looking to progress the technical changes we make in the first and ensure you have gone away to practice with the confidence to complete these drills unattended. This is important as all runners are different and thus we are not here to coach robots!
The remaining session vary on focus and is completely dependant on you as the athlete. We mould our coaching to ensure we can cover any concerning aspects to your running training that you are either struggling with, missing or want to improvement upon.
If this interested you, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Figure demonstrates assessment on a treadmill, almost all of our clients are now assessed OUTSIDE. The preference is entirely up to you as the athlete.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Finally, a real issue that often gets overlooked in the running world is an effective warm-up and a beneficial cool down routine.
The concept of a warm–up routine is far more than simply raising your heart rate, if that was the case then every ‘slow mile’ out there would be an effective way of stopping injury problems. The mark of a positive warm up is how well it activates the muscle groups you are about to go and utlise during your exercise. The key point to make is that you do not have to warm up for a lengthy period of time to achieve an activated state. Commonly, I will prescribe warm up routines lasting 5 minutes maximum, consequently there is no excuse to not complete one before you begin your run.
Multiple movement patterns must be targeted throughout the warm–up, you should prioritise muscle groups such as your Gluteals, Hamstrings and Hip flexors. Both dynamic movements and strength exercises are a great idea to incorporate.
The cool down does not have to be complicated either. This is where you save your static stretches. The aim of a static stretch is to lengthen the target muscle, and assist with myofascial tension following exercise. It is important from a physiological point of view to engage the stretch-relax response from the muscle fibres during this stretch, you should hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds, over this time the creep effect takes hold meaning the muscle fibres relax under the constant load.
Forgetting the science behind stretches, they really do hold a great place for runners to assist and more importantly speed your recovery between runs. This short time at the end of each run will mean that you can continue the volume of your running for longer niggle and pain free!
Cool Down Routine:
2 x each leg holding stretch for 30 seconds
- Quadricep Stretch
- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Glute Stretch
- Hamstring Stretch
- Calf Stretch