Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Can anyone tell me how they run?

I certainly can't. I have no idea. I could guess and say that I'm a heel striker (apparently 75% are) and that I lean slightly forward. Am I right or is this just how I want to see myself? No idea! All I know is that when I started running, I did exactly that.... I just ran (albeit slowly and woefully). In what other sport would you not even consider the technique of what you're doing. I mean I'm think about a triathlon next year and I've already started reading about swimming technique and I doubt I'll even see a pool for the next 2 months!!

I have never, EVER thought about technique when I run and without a doubt, 8 weeks prior to my 'goal' half marathon is not the time to change or be thinking about it but I have to be honest, it's got me thinking. I'm sure many of you have thought about this type of thing before and looked into various techniques but this is only something I started to look at yesterday purely from reading a thread on The Running Bug about barefoot running. Before you read any further, these are, as ever, just my babblings. They are not scientific and I'm not recommending you do or change anything.

Barefoot running is not the way to go when running around the streets of London as you'll spend most of your time avoiding the dog crap and the little bits of glass and I know there are shoes such as the Vibram Five Fingers that are meant to be good at recreating the effect of barefoot running without the crap and blood on the bottom of your feet but at around £100 for something that might or might not help in any way at all??? I'm not sure. The theory though, being that you run more on the fore/mid point of your foot. Don't believe me? Try running barefoot across your living room. I bet you don't heel strike!!!

Anyway, from reading about this, I started reading about the POSE technique which is a running technique developed by a Russian guy we'll call Boris (look, if you want the scientific and detailed approach, you're clearly on the wrong blog). Boris looked at some runners and decided that if you concentrated your effort on the lifting of your feet rather than the landing and kept your shoulder, hip and ankle in a straight line then you can reduce the force on your knees substantially because you will naturally start landing on the mid/fore foot. (Although on that particular website, I can't find the info where it mentions the additional force on the ankles plus the achilles tendon and calf injuries you'll probably suffer by trying to change/adapt without proper training but there you go).

My conclusions from this and the various YouTube videos was that this is a lot of work and ideally needs a proper coach and in all honestly, that's not going to happen. If you want to read more about it, this is one of the best articles I read on the subject. Seems to be pretty balanced.

So what could I look at with technique in mind that might actually help me without causing me more injuries, pain and falling on my face. Well unhelpfully, not a lot until I know how I run but my plan this week is make a conscious effort to see how I run and how my body is positioned when in progress. Maybe I'll get LG involved with a video phone and analyse it properly but that's getting very geeky even for me. What happened to the 'just running around' I enjoyed as a kid? At least I didn't have to think about that!


  1. I don't know if this of any relevance, but Up & Running have treadmills with high speed camcorders mounted to them, so that you can jump on, have a run, and watch the playback in slo-mo to see how you naturally run, and then of course they suggest shoes that match your style.

    It was pretty impressive seeing the dozens of individual movements of something I'd never thought about before.

  2. Works for treadmills really well but remember road running is different. Your feet move in a different way. Must be quite good to see in slo-mo though.

  3. I try to push my hips forward when I run. Not so much as in running with your groin thrusting out, but more imagining someone's got a rope around your waist and is pulling you forward. You can't do it for the entire run but I think it gives you good form when you're tired. Give it a go.

  4. In my rather sad way I find this question quite interesting and so have posted a longish reply on my blog.

    Oh and good luck with your race tomorrow