"Bend the knees" versus "running light"

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Jaap Francke, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Jaap Francke

    Jaap Francke
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    Hi there!

    I am still working on my form. And I am a DIY kind of guy, so I read a lot of stuff to get tips&tricks that I can pay attention to while running.

    One of the things that puzzles me is that I feel there is a contradiction between Bob's mantra "Bend the knees" and the concept of "running light", which is promoted in for example Michael Sandler's book on barefoot running.

    When I focus on bending my knees, it seems the time my foot is in contact with the ground gets longer and I am making myself less tall. When I try to adopt the idea of running light - as if there is a string pulling me up through my head - this encourages making myself tall and bending the knees doesn't work anymore.

    Can anyone explain how the 2 views can be combined? Or are we talking about 2 different barefoot techniques?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Christian Lemburg

    Christian Lemburg
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    First, these are cues, not different techniques. They are ways to focus your attention on specific issues.

    „Bend the knees“ is a cue to avoid overstriding and to use the whole leg as impact absorber and power generator, instead of overly relying on your calves.

    „Running light“ is also a cue to avoid overstriding, by encouraging smaller steps and focusing on lightly touching the ground instead of stomping into it heel first.

    „String pulling me up“ is a third cue intended to encourage erect upper body posture and hip extension.

    All of these are combined in good running technique. Look at the videos of Dr. Mark Cucuzzella running barefoot, he demonstrates all of these aspects in his technique.

    In training, one usually works on one cue at a given time, for better focus and improved results. If any of these cues confuse you, or seem contradictory, go back to video and try to imitate the actual movement or aspect you are interested in. Cues are just verbal shortcuts for insights about movements that happen to work for many people.
     
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  3. Barefoot TJ

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    Great response, Christian. Well thought out.
     
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  4. Jaap Francke

    Jaap Francke
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    Thanks Christian, your reply was really helpful to me.
    I did a few runs and suddenly the cues 'connected' rather than feeling somewhat in contradiction.

    Sunday I did a 25km trail run in the Ardennes. Not barefooted but I did try to focus on proper 'barefoot' running form. I was doing great and in particular I was happy to find I could run downhill fairly fast without my knees hurting. I really felt good about that because I used to hate running downhill before when I was still overstriding and landing on my heels.
     
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  5. flammee

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    Well, I have had this plantar fasciitis issue for last half a year. Last monday I was running and my heel started to ache, then I just tested this knee bending (idea popped into my mind because I had read this thread lately) and aching stopped. I have run 40 km so far this week, so I'm pretty sure it was knee bending that helped. I kinda rejected idea of knee bending during running as unnecessary and implausible, when I read Ken Bob's book few years ago.. I would say that it's pretty solid concept for me from now on. :D Thanks for reminder. :)
     

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