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Sunday, August 22, 2010

5. Lean your way to great running

A slight forward lean from the ankles, with the chest & pelvis squarely aligned is a great way to gain a mechanical advantage by utilizing gravity. A forward lean also increases cadence or stride rate, which is an extremely desirable asset to the distance runner. Please note the word slight – leaning too much can create over rotation & put pressure on the core muscles & increase loading in the hamstrings & hip flexors. Do NOT lean from the waist, this is a recipe for disaster. Keep the elbows bent 90* or less – the hallmark of all great distance runners is that bent elbow. Take smaller, but quicker steps & run lightly over the running surface. However do not chop your natural stride length down – allow the speed to determine stride length. The faster you run, the more you can lean. You are trying to reduce surface interaction time, but do not want to have to either lift the foot off the ground or get to the surface too soon & increase friction. If you are leaning too much, your foot strike becomes too loud & therefore heavy & you will have to lift your legs to clear the foot to stop it from scraping the surface – this lifting is a total no-no!
© Bobby McGee – Bobby McGee Endurance Sports

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Get Connected

If you don’t contra rotate your torso when you run, you are disconnected & if you are disconnected your Center of Mass & your strength (concentric) component is high – therefore you are inefficient; so learn how to contra-rotate, but don’t do so cognitively!
Yeah I felt the same way when 1st I started to figure this one out.
The world of Feldenkrais is an esoteric one to say the least & it draws the more “abstruse” of us to it & thus work from this field is often pooh-poohed. But of late there is some great stuff coming from certain members of this community who teach running – they really get “being connected” when you move. Check it out.
In swim/bike/run, all are equally dependant on good solid coordinated connectedness – try climbing on the bike & not pulling with the opposite arm! Or try swimming with only lats & pecs & not core – some of us can do this (yeah me!) & hoo boy, do we swim poorly!
Trouble is, in the run, if we were not connected from the start, or we fiddled around with some “technique” suggestions from a 2-dimensional model of bio-mechanical quackery, the unlearn (of the disconnected) & the relearning (through cognitive pathways) is a tough one.
The steps are:
1. Recognition – have an expert take a look
2. Correction – 1st through understanding & seeing (video), & then through presets & drills
3. Habituation – constant repetition till cognitive gives way to automatic
4. Confirmation - in races & hard training, especially when fatigued; should feel smoother & easier & be able to go longer & faster!
For more, check out my DVD, Triathlon, The Run, with explanations (understanding) & drills (learning)
Yours in connectedness!
Bobby McGee

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

4. Stride rate is the key to successful running

The forward lean in running is free speed, but the high stride rate, turnover or cadence really is the most important aspect of successful running. The less the amount of time, per foot strike, your foot can be on the ground, the less strength is required, the less fatigue is accumulated & the less eccentric micro tearing in the leg muscles takes place. A hallmark of champion distance runners is a stride rate of over 180 steps per minute – some as high as 208! Count your cadence by counting the number of foot strikes you achieve with one foot in 15sec & then multiply that by 4. This will give you a single leg turnover. The minimum number you are striving for is 23 (or 92 steps per foot per minute, which is 184 for both feet). Your length, leg length or gender is irrelevant. Lastly, do not simply try to move up your cadence by moving your legs faster; this may lead to injury & may not improve performance. Do this by leaning slightly forward from the ankle, staying tall through the hips, bending your elbows 90*, (till you could hold a pebble in the crook of your elbow & not drop it for the duration of the run), punching your elbows rearward slightly &, most importantly, pushing your foot to the ground, (but NOT while on the ground). Do this rather than launching up into the air (pushing off) & dropping to the ground – a recipe for injury, fatigue & poor performance.

Bobby McGee – Bobby McGee Endurance Sports