Running Technique. What Running Technique?

The Running Beast

Women's Running Technique

I have a beast, and the beast’s name is Running Technique. He is a brutal pig and I am out to tame him (I’ve decided he’s male.)   While I may have a smug confidence in swimming and power on the bike, running has always let me down. You name it, pace, technique, consistency, training – it’s all out there for grabs.  So, one part of my athletic resolutions this year is to take the running bull by the proverbial horns and meet it head on.

Proudly, the first step was to meet with Kirk Nelson, a professional triathlete and coach in Longmont, Colorado, for a two on one session to discuss the rights and wrongs of running. Fortunately, there were no major mechanical problems, just years of running like a sloth. It was time to change the pace and with some key pointers, the difference was noticeable.

Every athlete, whether starting out or a seasoned expert, can benefit from taking a step back and looking at your own technique and training patterns and here are some pearls of wisdom we learned this weekend.

The Basics of Running Technique

  • Aim to land mid to front footed
  • The laws of physics state it takes less energy to lift your knee to bring your foot forward than at a lesser angle. This was a major breakthrough in my technique.  Take a look at the video!
  • Arms are very important to running – use them to add power.  This is especially true after T2 in a tri when trying to run through the ‘legs of lead.’
  • We agreed, Born to Run is a great book.

Putting all this into action, take a look at the before and after video.

Training

Armed with his new technique, the next step is a training plan.  The goal for this year is speed – no marathons for me – I just want to be fast in a 10k.  Kirk gave some great advice on speed work (do it!) and concentrating on your weakest link.  This is not rocket science, but it sounds much more convincing when it comes from someone else!

Breaking things down into bite size achievements, the first steps will be:

  • Calculate the maximum pace I can sustain for 20 minutes.
  • Use the new Garmin 305 to set five zones for training:  zone 4 being maximum pace, zone five being max and 1, 2 and 3 slower versions of 4.
  • Set up treadmill workouts to incorporate the zones and practice the concept starting at 20 minutes and working up to 40 then 60.
  • Hit the outside trail and put it into action.

I’ll report back through the spring training season with updates on the training and see if this running sloth really can increase her pace.  If this is the case, I am in for a really exciting tri season ahead.

Have comments on your running technique?  Let us know