Biomechanics and You

Today’s Workout:
The Plan: 4 Miles + 4 20 second strides with 2:00 minute recoveries
The Actual: 4 Miles @9:24 pace + 4 20 second strides @ 7:15 pace with 2:00 recoveries – total mileage 4.82; definitely NOT pain free but got it done!


As promised, my goal of this blog is not simply to diary my training triumphs and, as of late, woes, but also to hopefully provide some useful information that can assist you in your fitness goals.  As such, get ready for your first lesson in biomechanics, a topic very close to my heart, or my sciatic as it were, lately.

Biomechanics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems such as humans, animals, plants, organs, and cells by means of the methods of mechanics.  As it relates to running, the connection is pretty obvious.  How does our body move while running?  It’s fair to say that our body moves in a preordained way BUT the good news is we can train it to move more efficiently and with less force on our body.  The amount of literature on the topic, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear, is quite large and, if you’ve been interested in running for any duration of time, you’ve surely noticed that the voices on the topic don’t always agree.

The best, and by best I mean the most simplistic so that those of us that don’t have a coach constantly tweaking our form can actually apply this to ourselves easily, article I found was out on active.com titled “Check your Form: Running with Correct Biomechanics”.  The article breaks down the key points of form into the following areas: Head Position, Body Angle, Arm Action, Knee Action, Footplant, Stride Length, and Relaxation.  Even with the dissenting voices on the topic, I found this article to be at such a high level that it rang true no matter what your thoughts on the finer nuances of form.

I highly suggest reading the full post but my one word of caution is don’t try to do too much all at once.  You’ve been running the way you’ve been running for some time so give your body time to adjust to the new form.  Running with correct form is about NOT being lazy so instead of trying to run your whole distance for the day trying to hold a new form try this instead:  warm-up like you normally do (you better warm-up!), then pick one of the areas highlighted above to focus on (for me it’s about using my butt muscles – probably falls into knee action above), concentrate on executing this form perfectly for two minutes or, if you’re feeling good, a half mile, then let yourself go back to what feels natural, then concentrate on the perfect execution again, go back to natural, and so on until you’re done with your planned distance.  Do this for a week, and then gradually increase the time/distance.  You’ll be surprised that over a month what you once had to concentrate on has become natural.

Tweaks to your form not only help with injury prevention but it can also increase your performance – who doesn’t want those two things?!?!?!

What’s your form pitfall?  Let me know if my suggestion helps or if you’ve tried something else that worked for you!  Please share 🙂

Run Tall!  Run Fast!  And USE YOUR GLUTES!

2 comments

  1. My biggest from pitfall is putting my head down. I have to constantly remind my self to pick my head up. I get lost in the zone and then end short stepping with my head down. When I pick my head up my breathing becomes easier and my strides extend a bit. Sadly its all easy until I forget. I need to work more on speed drills myself.

    Like

    • That’s a good one too! I find myself falling into that trap especially after running outside through the winter when I’m constantly on the look out for pot holes and black ice. Good luck keeping those eyes up!

      Liked by 1 person

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