In order to understand how we run. It is always better to have a model or an example of how good runners really run, just like we do this in golf, and we do this in other sports as we have the ability to model ourselves on other individuals. And so what I’m going to do now is I am going to talk a little bit more about how the running motion actually works. And the best way to start that of is with the mathematical equation of how running is.
Running is basically your stride length the amount of distance that you cover with one step and your stride rate which is the number of steps that you take in a minute. And this is normally measured as a stride cycle from left foot to left foot, but a lot of times we also just talk about just how many steps we take with our left foot in a minute, or our right foot in a minute. What that brings to our training when we start understanding, it is not only about the speed that we covering and what our central physiological systems are doing, but it is also very much about. If we are training we have to take cognizance when we fractionalize training we have to take cognizance of the stride rate that we have and the stride length that we have. Let’s say for example we going to run a ten kilometer Alright? And we are going to do 400 meter repeats to run that 10 kilometer. It is no good taking super long powerful slow strides in that 10 x 400 meter workout and then trying to take that to the road and running a 10 kilometer on the road. Where we are going to be taking a lot less, a lot more steps with a lot shorter stride length, cause then there is no neuromuscular carryover. So that’s a very important thing for us to look at.
Let’s have a look at some key perspectives that we need to have as background to understand how the running motion works. And so the first thing that we look at is our Kinetic Chain. And the Kinetic Chain is the contralateral way in which we run, alright? In other words the right shoulder works together with the left hip, the right elbow works together with the left knee and the right wrist works together with the left ankle. And those work in unison. When I coach the Olympic champion in 1996 in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, he used to have a funny little rotation with his forearm. But if you look further down the chain his left foot over pronated and that was echoed by the movement of his wrist. So that is a real key component to look at when you are looking at your own mechanics, is to make sure that Kinetic Chain is operating intact. The next thing that we will look at is that people tend to view running as linear Alright? As a straight line movement, but even if you look at me from the front here, if I move my arms forward in this position, my right arm forward my left arm back you will notice that my shoulder is narrow. So it is very important that you view your own running in three dimensions.
That it is not just what is going on left and right and what is going on forward and back, but all of the angles through that. We call that multilane movement and running is a very multi planar movement. So when you look at your footprints, they do not echo the width of your feet that is equal to the width of your hips when you start running. So that is an important concept.
The next thing to look at is a concept called the differentiation between sports that are Ipsilateral and sports that are Contralateral. Now, Ipsilateral Sports indicate that the one side of the body moves at the same time. For example when you’re swimming when you put your hand in the water this shoulder would move forward this hip would drop down you would rotate in the water, and join your entire right side would move at the same time. As opposed to running or throwing a motion it is a contralateral movement as we spoke about this Kinetic Chain working contralaterally. When you run, you run contralaterally. In other words talk the body, so that the arm goes forward and goes straight back, but the way to achieve that is through a rotational movement, Alright? So that is a very important thing to view. And when we analyze our own running we very often look at a single movement. But, you know? I running movement is a Cyclic Movement, in other words it’s a Rotational Movement around axis. And that is how we produce linear motion. So if you put a strobe light or something on your ankle or on your knee or on your hip you’d notice that it will be moving forward in circular in Cyclic Motion. So that is very important.
A key factor in running efficiency is a concept called Dynamic Balance. The Dynamic Balance statically is actually being imbalance. We want to create a situation where we have an upright body and were trying to turn that body into a wheel. I often tell runners that when you run downhill and you want to use gravity and free speed to get you down that hill you are basically a box and the more you can shave off the corners of that box, the more likely you will be able to have less resistance as you roll. And so how I explained Dynamic Balance is to have people stand in the position where they are upright and they are not bending at the waist and they’re not bending at the chest.
If I drop the plumb line from my shoulders that would hang the hit of my hips, and if I drop the plumb line, from my hips that hang the hit of my toes or just in the middle of my feet. But what they are doing is they are leaning slightly forward, and that is all that is holding me up and stopping me from falling forward is the pressure that my calf muscles are putting through my ankles pushing my feet to the ground, and as soon as I let go, I create forward momentum. That is a very important concept and it gets highly impacted by fatigue. So the more tired we become, the more upright we are, the more we want to keep ourselves imbalance and safe and the harder we actually have to work to overcome inertia.
What is very important when we are talking about Dynamic Balance? Is the fact that when we are out of balance when we are running, it causes our legs to react to our postural position of our out of balance position. And, it then becomes a different movement pattern, in other words our legs come out in front of us to stop us from falling and to protect us and to keep us safe. And when you elicit that kind of reaction it is a much more efficient much more primal much more useful way to approach the run. So just creating that slight imbalance is the very key concept.