In my last post I discussed how the basics of the physics of running could help us learn some valuable technical lessons to help us run more efficiently.
That approach doesn't work for everyone, so an alternative approach is to try to get to the same 'aha moment' by focusing on the feel of a more efficient running movement (I find this approach works better with younger athletes).
With stride length x stride frequency = speed still being our goal, I try to achieve (through feel) 3 basic principles (illustrated in the great shot below):
- Feet landing beneath body's' centre of gravity (helps mid foot striking)
- Tall running posture
- Promotion of forward movement (slight lean)
I find the best way to achieve this through 'feel' is by getting athletes to experience aspects of a more efficient movement within targeted running drills and exercises where form is the focus. This muscle memory can then be transferred to running.
- Complete a heel flick drillproperly! This drill completed well promotes fast feet, forward lean and good posture.
- Hill runs with a continued run off the top, running uphill puts you in a good forward posture, the key is to try to maintain the position on the flat at the top, while remaining tall.
- Quick feet strides gives you the opportunity to get you feet landing beneath your body, naturally promoting positive forward lean and movement (can use speed ladders, cones as an aid).
- Resisted running via the use of a bungee cord/ parachute or a friend holding a towel around your torso again puts you in the desired forward running motion and tall stance where shorter strides are required against the resistance.
Think fast, relaxed and use your upper body to help dictate your cadence.