Running The Wrong Way (Soon the right?)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Over the summer, I was approached by Nick from The Running School in Chiswick to have my running posture and style analyzed.  Running has never been my forte.  I was always the slowest person on the soccer team and never did well on the Presidential Fitness Test mile.

The school is just outside the Stamford Brook tube stop, making it very convenient to get to if a) you are not running 1/2 hour late because you completely forgot about your appointment or 2) the District line isn't experiencing major delays.  Lucky for me, Nick and his team were very friendly on the phone* every time I phoned to update them where I was (and to find out where I should be. You'd think after a year and a half in London, I would know my way around).

Since I literally ran to the The Running School from a Tube station that was farther away, I didn't need to warm up.  I was sweating.  Nick popped me on a treadmill and videotaped me running from the side and back at different speeds and inclines.  He then took my video over to the computer and had a look at my posture, gait, and general running form.  This is the Biomechanical Analysis and Movement Screen that all new clients receive.

Turns out I run nothing like Jessica Ennis.  Here is a video from the Olympics.  If you go to 22:30 you can see Jessica run.  Note how her heels move in a circle.  That is the ideal way to run.  My heels make a sausage shape.  Guess I will never beat Jessica in a race.




Nick told me I need to engage my hamstrings and glutes more to get that circular motion.  I also need to take a shorter stride.  This surprised me because I always thought to compensate for my short legs, I needed to reach in front farther.  Nick explained that my heels are really acting as a brake.  The force of striking my heel stops my body and it quite jarring.  I then need to exert more energy to start again.  My arms also are wasting energy by crossing my mid-line.  This I was bummed to hear because I had consciously been avoiding this (so I thought).

In my brief session, I learned what I was doing that hindered my run (lazy bum, long stride, crazy arms).  Nick then gave me some pointers to think about (bring heel up higher, shorter steps, keep elbows by sides rather than pumping out).  Every time I run, I keep these in mind.  I am sure even if I mastered this tips, Nick and his team could continue to tweak my style to improve my speed and energy expenditure.

The Running School offer lessons for recreation runners, triathletes, athletes (sport-specific and elite runners), kids, and those who would like to walk.  The studio has treadmills for running forwards and backwards, floor mats for plyometric work with Dynamic Moving Skills, and other essential training equipment (weight machines, medicine balls) to improve your athletic prowess.

The staff was extremely friendly and the other clients were really enjoying their lessons.  If you have decided 2013 is the year to beat your PB, I recommend calling up a Running School location near you and signing up.

*Please be on time for your appointment.  I am sure if you are habitually a half hour late you won't get as much out of your lessons.

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