Whether you’re a seasoned runner gearing up for the race season or a newbie putting your best foot forward, these tips can help develop or improve your running efficiency.
Always land with your feet under your center of mass (hips).
Focus on leaning forward at the ankles while keeping your core tight and engaged. Keep in-mind, ideally, your feet should naturally lead beneath your center. Try to contact the ground with your mid-foot, which is located just below the ball of your foot and about your arch. This will allow you the arch to act as a natural “spring” to help propel you forward, while keeping the body centered. As your foot lands under your hips on the mid-foot, your knee bends naturally, providing the perfect cushion for each stride.
Shorten your stride.
Have a smaller stride coincides with landing under your center of mass. When our strides become too far apart, we tend to “overreach” and land on the heel rather the efficient mid for. Smaller strides equate to a higher frequency of the foot hitting the ground, so practice counting every stride you take for one minute. Aim for 180-190 stride per minute (SPM). It may sound like a lot but by increasing your stride frequency, there’s less impact with each step, thus reducing risk of stress fractures in the future.
Cross train on the bike.
The leg mechanics of running and cycling are very similar, if not almost identical. There is a direct crossover between cycling and stride frequency with running. Whether you cycle on our Schwinn bikes in an indoor Cycling class or outside on the road, you can greatly improve your running. Incorporating cycling into your workout regimen allows your to gain an extremely beneficial non-impact cardio session that takes the stress off your legs during those non-running days, while still putting your legs through the “running motions.” Keep you RPMs between 90-100 while cycling to reinforce your 180 SPM while running.
When you run on pavement, your body becomes acclimated to the level surface. If you set out on the trail, you quickly realize that the difference in terrain forces the body to adjust. Eventually trail running will increase balance, ankle strength, and even core strength. Also, the trail’s softer surface is much more forgiving on the legs in contrast to hard pavement. Typically, with trains come hills and that means you have potential for gain in strength and speed. Yes, hills are tough but, remember the greater the challenge, the greater the benefit when you conquer that challenge. Thus, do not neglect the hills. Attack the hills!
Take advantage of our new Woodway Treadmills.
The Woodway’s softer surface (like an outdoor track or dirt trail) gives you the cushion that your legs will be begging for every time the Seattle rain forces you to run inside. We’ve just updated the consoles on the Woodways to give several workout options including customized track workouts, Cascade 5K, Foothills 10K, speed building intervals, and hill/speed repeat workouts.
Improve your nutrition.
If you consider running to be the number one way to find the healthier you, then consider nutrition to be a close second. What you’re eating can make running easier or more difficult. Talk with one of our registered dietitians and get started on the right path to a healthy new lifestyle. The weight loss that can occur from feeling your body correctly can result in faster, lighter, and more efficient running.
So get ready. Lace up those shoes. And run strong and happy!
Originally from PRO Pulse March-April 2010
By Cody Novak