The Running Form Thread

Discussion in 'Coach Talk' started by Last Place Jason, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    I believe there are runs where form doesn't quite click. This happened a few days ago. I haven't run on mountain trails in about six weeks, then tried a fartlek on some fairly technical trails with steep grades. It was tough. The best way to describe it is "rusty." My foot placement wasn't great, I had trouble seeing the trail... I just hadn't done it for awhile. My technique was a little off.

    This may be different than the "bad run" experience, however. The runs where I just don't feel motivated, it's harder than normal, or just doesn't feel right could be attributed to a wide range of physiological, psychological, or emotional states. Stress, lack of sleep, too much sleep, spicy Mexican the night before, weather... all could play a role.

    The interesting question- would any of those factors (or others) affect gait?
     

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  2. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    I think the answer is a resounding YES, those factors and others affect our gait. To what extent depends upon how
    equipted and experienced we are as runners.
     
  3. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I guess I don't run enough to have bad days. When I was traveling by bicycle and averaging 100 miles a day, I did have days when my legs felt really heavy, and other days when I felt really light and full of energy, and there didn't always seem to be a rhyme or reason to it. I chalked it up to biorhythms and left it at that.
    Interesting that bad days can affect runs. I'm working a bit on my landing, as noted above, but haven't noticed any natural fluctuation in my gait, but I guess on days when I'm not well rested, I do feel more plodding than usual. Interesting discussion.
     
  4. Hobbit

    Hobbit Barefooters
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    [quote="Last Place Jason, post: 109380, member: 4"
    Stress, lack of sleep, too much sleep, spicy Mexican the night before, weather... all could play a role.

    The interesting question- would any of those factors (or others) affect gait?[/quote]

    For me the answer is yes. For example: you eat a spicy and fatty something you are not used to. This will have an effect on your intestines and liver. They don't work as rapidly as usual and toxins will stay waiting in the bloodstream instead of being processed, metabolized and gotten out of the system. And that can have an effect on certain muscles in the vicinity: they might crisp and tighten, which will have an effect on other muscles to counterbalance and so on.
     
  5. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
    1. Michigan

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    One of the issues we face as barefoot runners is the tendency to chalk everything up to bad running form. There's far more to running performance than how we move, which many of us rarely acknowledge. For me personally, it's a constant struggle to consider all possibilities both with myself and others.
     

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  6. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
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    Yeah I'd have to agree here. I'd say in order of importance genetics > training > stress/sleep > form > diet.

    I also attribute injuries more to issues with undertraining.
     
  7. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    Injuries are a tricky proposition. The fool-proof solution to injury prevention is a lot like preventing pregnancy- don't do it.

    Sometimes we use the "too much too soon" thing as a cop-out, though... just like "listen to your body." Every single injury could be attributed to TMTS, but it doesn't address an important issue: Could we have done more training if we used a different technique, gotten more sleep, had more rest days, eaten a better diet, or had better genes.
     

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  8. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
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    Yeah I'd agree that blaming everything on TMTS is too easy. But those variables are so specific it's impossible to make a generalized opinion on the safest plan. Overall I think to train more than you think you should and to be more conservative while racing will be more conducive to healthy long term running.
     
  9. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
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    Should we aspire to forefoot strike while running downhill?
     
  10. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    Not necessarily. If the grade is too steep, the plantarflexion can be tough on the shins. I also found heel striking to be really useful on certain types of terrain to help maintain control.
     

  11. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    OK, on yesterday's run, I confirmed, several times, by speeding up and slowing down, that my form really comes together and becomes fairly effortless right around 9mm pace. At 9:30 mm pace, for example, I have to focus a bit to make sure my left foot is landing properly, and double check my posture and arms. At 10-10:30 mm pace I really start to feel plodding and almost don't even know where to begin to make sure my form is OK. But at 9mm pace and faster, none of that seems necessary. So the question is: should we recreational runners be running as slow as we often do? Should we only run the paces at which form comes more naturally, for however long we can sustain it, and then build up distance gradually from there? Discuss (as Jason would say).
     
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  12. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    I think it's a mistake to automatically begin teaching running form when running slow. Start by having a person run at a variety of paces, then ask which feels the best. Odds are good that their form at that pace will be very good. Work up and down from there. So yes, I agree with your premise, Lee.
     

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  13. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    I am a little bias being one that is capable of maintaining a consistent and efficient technique at very slow speeds to very high speeds. As a result my advice for someone in your situation/experience is to explore your options if you aren't satisfied with current experience. I really enjoy being able to run at slow speeds as well as high speeds and feel in control in either circumstance.
     
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  14. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    But you're an experienced runner that's been trained by professional coaches. I bet most of us are capable of maintaining consistent and efficient technique at a variety of paces. The question is handling new runners... do we focus on learning technique at one specific pace, then generalizing said technique to faster and slower paces? If so, what is the ideal pace for them to begin?

    Our (collective barefoot runners) advice is usually start slow. Lee's hypothesizing that the "go slow" advice may not be the most effective teaching method. I agree. We should start the runner at the pace they feel most comfortable, even if it's a sprint.
     

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  15. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    I am of the opinion and experience that technique can be learned and practiced at many speed ranges even at beginner level. Typically the beginner will need to do less on either capacity due to lower level of conditioning as well as lower skill level of technique. Basically I don't think there is a one size fits all approach to the speed of optimal running technique. What is important is having optimal technique at the speeds you prefer/choose to run
     
  16. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I think you're missing the point B&A. The question isn't what is possible, but what is most effective and/or easiest. I'm sure I can master good form at any speed, but it would take time and effort. On the other hand, I can run at 9mm and have good form right now, with no effort. The drawback is that I won't be able to run as far, but that's where fartleks and/or Galloway's Run-Walk method might come into play. I know I have no real right to participate in this discussion with someone of your experience, but as a recreational runner with a decent athletic background, perhaps my idea is worth considering. We all teach the way we learn, so your greater ability may blind you to how a recreational runner might best learn. Kind of like when I, as a native English speaker and linguist, try to teach grammar to my wife. She doesn't want to hear about it. She wants to learn intuitively, I want to teach analytically.
     
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  17. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    I teach that one should strive to let their foot land relaxed on the forefoot regardless of the inclination as an ideal. The main condition when that goal is most challenged is when the footing is very uneven and slippery. In those conditions wearing appropriat footwear to insure stabile landing is ideal. The skill level of the runner will determine the success or failure of the ideal during extreme conditions.
     
  18. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    Lee,

    """""" I think you're missing the point B&A.""""""""

    Are you sure you have explained your point clearly??..LOL

    """""" So the question is: should we recreational runners be running as slow as we often do?"""""""

    It would depend on the individual and his/her current skill of running.

    """""""Should we only run the paces at which form comes more naturally, for however long we can sustain it, and then build up distance gradually from there? """"""""

    That would depend if the individual was working on their running via a specific technique(ie...Chi, Pose, etc...). If by natural you mean strictly by feel then yes going at paces and distances that the runner can maintain injury free technique. The problem that one with this approach runs into is that at some point he she needs to put forth both mental and physical effort to become better skillfully and the various speed spectrums if that is indeed a goal for him/her.
     
  19. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Just watched these videos, couldn't agree more.
     
  20. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Thanks for the inadvertent confirmation that I have, viz.: "We all teach the way we learn, so your greater ability may blind you to how a recreational runner might best learn."
     

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