Monday, April 13, 2015

How to PR by Run Technique: Series III

Last time on How to PR by Run Technique we discussed head position and how to run tall. Today I will discuss your arm position and how to use your core while running.

Arms. You not only use your legs to run, but also your arms.  I don't know how many times I've seen runners not use their arms. You need your arms like you need your legs in swimming, to propel you forward.  Using your arms will significantly improve your running economy by reducing your torso rotation and the amount spent going side to side. When running for the best efficiency, keep your arms close and pump them up to mid-chest and then down so your thumb should graze just past your hip, alternating arms. Your arms should not cross the center of your chest as this will increase torso rotation and your elbows should go straight back not outward.  In doing so, you want to keep your shoulders and hands relaxed. However, your hands should not be so relaxed that they are flopping around - just keep them loosely stable.

Core.  The cool thing these days is core training. Most people think we're just talking about the abdominal muscles, but that is not true. The "core" covers a wide range of anatomy. I'll go on to say we have so many fancy core workouts, but we don't know how to actually apply our strong core to running, specifically. What good is having a strong core if you don't know how to use it?

In the movie "Without Limits",  Coach Bowerman pulls the world famous Steve Prefontaine aside during a track workout. We know that Coach Bowerman was a man of few words, but when had something to say he said it, especially if it involved running. Bowerman said to Pre, "Do you usually run with your butt sticking out like that? Stand up straight. You want a plumb line to run from your ear to your feet. Let your hips relax. That's how you were running.  Lift your knee. Now cock your hips under you". (Pre's confused look here). "Under you. Like in the deepest moment of penetration. Now lift your knee. It's easier when you tuck your pelvis in. Your not fighting your own body's mechanics. Makes you more efficient."

In 2004 Chi-Running became popular. Chi-Running was implemented by Danny Dreyer, a running coach and ultra-runner that placed a heavy emphasis on the core while running. Dreyer was taking Tai-Chi at the time and formed ideas of how to apply it to running. He even wrote several books on Chi-Running. "All of the Tai-Chi comes down to developing a strong core, but relaxing the moving parts. Those are the things that transfer to running. Most use their legs way too much and that's why most runners get injuries from their knees down. You can run more from your core and learn how to relax your legs."

1. Hip and butt out 2. Hip and butt tucked in. 

In these next tips on run form, we will cover the stride which will be broken down into three parts and the controversial footstrike. If you have any questions please email me at



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