Western Sydney Marathon Article 1: Finding Form

Finding Form

By Coach Graham Hand

With the lead up to the Western Sydney Marathon races, no matter the distance athletes should take time out each week to work on their form.

Good runners seem to run like it’s effortless as they let gravity do the work for them. But you too can Run with Confidence.

It is impossible to change form over night. However, it is possible to work on inefficiencies and start to work on little parts of the whole picture and piece it together bit by bit.

Here are the top 7 Tips on efficient running.

  1. Stride (Get your feet landing under your general mass and landing on the balls of your feet).
    Don’t ‘stretch your legs’ forward seeking speed. That will only cause you to overstride resulting in a longer ground contact time and/or heelstrike which applies a braking effect. Think ‘bent’ knee under your hips, rather than straight legs in front.
  2. Cadence (get the feet turning over, great cadence to aim for is 180 steps per minute 90 each foot).
    Try to get the maximum distance on your stride in line with point 1, then pick your feet up, focusing on the ‘lift’ rather than the ‘push’ to ensure a faster leg turnover.
  3. Posture (Tall ‘like a butler’).
    Keep your head up, eyes looking straight on with shoulders pushed back and down your back. Posterior chain – the core and glutes have to be engaged and locked in to keep it tight.
  4. Forward Lean (Lean from the ankles ‘like a ladder’ leaning up against the wall).
    Gravity is there to be utilised. Don’t become perpendicular with the ground, but maintain a lean forward, not by leaning over your waist, but by keeping a tight posture as per Point 2 with an angled lean originating from the ankles. You’ll capture a bit of free assistance on every stride this way rather than losing it into the ground.
  5. Hips (Your hips should be aligned neutrally allows forward and backwards movement of legs).
    A slight tilt from the pelvis will allow you to capture the gravity as per Point 4. Glutes have to be activated on each footfall to avoid ‘sinking hips’.
  6. Breathing (Learn how to Belly breathe, taking it in to the bottom of your diaphragm).
    Some runners will keep a breathing rhythm according to the intensity of the session. Those running the 5k or 10k may be working harder than those in the half marathon and marathon so breathing may be 2 in, 1 out. The longer distances may employ a 3 in, 2 out pattern.
  7. Arm Swing (Keep the elbow ‘tips’ brushing past hips).
    Get arms swinging in line with bodies forwards and backward movement, not across body and watch that your shoulders don’t rotate. Push your elbows back, as if you were trying to elbow someone behind you. The longer your arm swing, the better your stride will become, as your arms and leg work together in unison.

Road running is about keeping everything as efficient as possible. Note the shoulder and arm movement and how the position of head and eye gaze affects the posture.

Work on these techniques on your next run, and you will be running with confidence in no time.
UP Coaching will also hold a 6 week form and technique workshop, “Run with Confidence” starting 19th August. Please see our Facebook page for all details https://www.facebook.com/UPCoachingAU/

For more information on training and coaching go to www.upcoaching.com.au/training

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