Don't shorten your stride!

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Barefoot Gentile, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Barefoot Gentile

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  2. NickW

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    I too have wondered about the short stride issue with barefoot running. I can't say much about cadence other than above 180 and I feel like I am going to die and am putting out a ton of effort to keep that cadence. Others don't and feel better at the higher cadence. Guess it's possibly the runners preference of what feels more comfortable to them.
     
  3. Bare Lee

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    Hey BG, I've always been a 'listen to your body' kind of guy, but lately I've been thinking about thinking about form. I'm over the tiny stress fracture I got last November when I jumped from 5 to 10 miles, and am back up into the 5-6 mile per run range--no problems thus far. Will try 7 tomorrow.

    Last week I tried Dr. Mark's tip about driving one's knee forward, and this naturally upped my cadence and velocity, which in my current state of development was hard to sustain. But it feels right, and my stride is smoother. Not sure if my stride is any shorter or longer, but I'm definitely propelled along faster.

    I was just wondering what you thought of Dr. Mark's video and his tips. These days when I run well, I try to imagine myself someday running as smoothly as Dr. Mark.
     
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  4. Hawkbilly

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    I read the article through a couple of times and still wasn't sure what he was trying to say. I don't think it's a matter of longer or shorter, it's a matter of optimal for an individual. Full leg extension might make sense for Carl Lewis, and sprinters generally, but for distance runners a full leg extension would seem to imply less ability to absorb the impact with your leg. If your leg is bent and under you, it can do it's work. If it's extended and in front of you, that doesn't seem as good to me. Perhaps I'm missing what his point. It's certainly a different message than what other BF'ers are teaching (like Ken Bob or Dr. Mark).
     
  5. Hawkbilly

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    What was that line from Born to Run from Caballo Blanco when he and Chris were running a trail......if you don't know whether to take one step or two, take three.
     
  6. dutchie53

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    I am confused as well. So longer stride = lower cadence? I agree with Nick, when my cadence gets to 185+ it does not feel good. So maybe those that have trouble getting to a higher cadence might benefit from a longer stride? o_O
     
  7. Barefoot Gentile

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    Hi, first I am glad to hear you are feeling much better, and nice job increasing the mileage! It's funny you write this because when I saw the recent video that Dr. Mark put out I thought it was excellent, and I started thinking about driving the knee forward, than lifting the foot. So much better!

    The only barefoot running book I read was KenBobs, skimmed through it really, though he has some good tips personally his style just doesn't fit me. Most if not all barefoot running writers emphasize the short stride and 180 cadence, I believe that is not the only way to run barefoot.
     
  8. Bare Lee

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    Cool to hear you liked that tip too. It may be all I need, we'll see. Once I hit seven miles (which is a nice run to, around, and back from a lake near my house), I will be running a little over an hour per outing. I will set that as my max time and then focus on running faster, eventually increasing mileage in order to keep the total running at about an hour. As I increase velocity, I will try to incorporate the knee drive more and more and see if that feels sufficient. With all the opinions out there, I don't know if we really have any choice but to experiment, read up a bit, participate in these forums, but ultimately trust our own bodies' reactions and proprioception. I did just buy Ken Bob's book however, and will look through it for new ideas. I'm impressed with the quality of the printing. I only wish I could remember how I ran barefoot 20 years ago, while in Japan, back when I didn't think about it. At the time I didn't even know I was BFR; I was just training for karate.
    Anyway, keep your posts coming! And thanks for the link--I'll have to look over that site more when I have some free time.
     
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  9. talonraid

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    I think you hit a homerun with this statement. Early on I tried to follow everyone's standard advice and it never really was comfortable. My cadence was rarely up around 180 and when it was I was exhausted in a short time. I also spent a lot of time thinking about landing, lifting, POSE, Chi, Natural Running, blah blah blah. Everyone has their loves and hates when it comes to form. Finally, I just started to run and not worry about any of it. My long runs were the best because I forced myself to not force anything and just put one foot in front of the other and go. Running is much more enjoyable without all the concentration.
     

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  10. DavidP

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    That's funny. I do the same thing. I've found on downhills I do better at emulating his form. I imagine one day soon I'll reach the bottom of the hill and I'll have that same kick as I go up the next one. At my glacial 11-12min pace I never hit a cadence above 150-160. If I force it faster, my HR jumps and I feel like I'm running in place. I think as I maybe, eventually, hopefully get faster my cadence will increase.

    Speaking of Dr Mark, The Trail Runner Nation Podcast crew interviews him on three episodes recently. Good stuff!

    ~David
     

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  11. Barefoot Dama

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    I don't believe everything I read though.
    I naturally have a 200+ cadence and speed dictates my stride lenght.
    The faster I go the longer my stride. I have very short strides when I run slow but my cadence stays on the 200+ stm.
    Like I always say, don't think about how your feet are landing, run relax and at what comes/feels natural to you.
     

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  12. Neil_D

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    Maybe the idea of keeping up a high cadence is to do with the amount of force on the landing. This is more applicable to the heel strike running style where the whole of your body weight makes contact with the ground.
    At a cadence of 180 the landing force would be (for a 70kg person) 70 x 9.81 x 60/180 = 229N at cadence of 120 it would be 70 x 9.81 x 60/120 =343N roughly 50% higher. A forefoot landing would be much better as the force is spread over a larger area and the force is applied more gradually, if your cadence is higher that would be less force again.
    I don't seem to have much problem keeping up around 180 but I can only keep higher cadence of say 200 up for shorter distances. As I remember Pose running stresses not lifting your upper part of your leg as it is wasting energy in lifting the leg, just pulling the lower leg/foot away is less weight.

    Neil
     
  13. Barefoot Gentile

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    This is it! Nice post as well.
     
  14. barefootandagile

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    Personally I strive for "allowing my stride to open up as my speed increases". Since I keep a constant cadence my stride is shorter at slow speeds and longer at faster speeds. Just making ones stride short will pose a number of problems with overall running technique if one wants to run at lots of paces/speed.
     
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  15. DNEchris

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    Having been a big time heel striker I found the advice to shorten my stride very pertinent when I was starting out.

    As time passed, and I got my mileage up, I concentrated less on all the advice I'd read and just began to move freely.
    I believe that as long as my foot is not weight bearing until it is under my center of gravity I'm doing just fine!

    Rear leg "extension" is a function of pace and merely shows where I've come from - it's not something I strive for. Similarly I don't think about stride length but I do know that I have a much longer stride when running at a 7 minute pace than I do at 11 minute pace! My turnover is pretty constant between 180 and 200 steps per minute - it tends to the higher end on gravel!
     
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  16. barefootandagile

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    In Pose, the main purpose for 180-200 cadence is due to optimization of elastic properties of our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As for the pulling element, that has to do with recovering the foot back to the position closest under our bodies at the next stride. Without a proper timed pull the foot and leg will land excessively forward of the center of the body.
     
  17. Barefoot Gentile

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    The quality of Ken Bob's book is great. You got it right with experimenting, which is a good thing to do, but in the end it comes down what is comfortable for you. Ken Bob emphasizes the knee bend allot, my knees are bent while running barefoot, but I then tried to bend it more, the outcome was it just didn't work for me at all, in fact it hindered my running so I went back to my natural stage. Like you said with Karate, you just ran barefoot with a clear head. To much information on running barefoot can have a reverse effect at times.
     
  18. barefootandagile

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    As for knee bend, my prefered description is just to avoid actively straightening and locking them. Some will have more visual knee bend than others and that is fine as long as the runner is injury free and happy with their running.
     
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  19. Zetti

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    My stride has been lengthening as of late so my cadence has fallen a touch.
    I was worried at first but it felt okay so I'm just going with it.
    If something starts to hurt Ill change it...if not...it probably works :)
     
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  20. Bare Lee

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    It's funny that in that most basic of all athletic activities--running barefoot--there's such a diversity of opinion as to proper technique, much more so, it seems, than in cycling, karate, hitting a ball with a bat or a racket, or any other practice shaped more by human imagination than evolution.
     
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