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  • Writer's picturecoachmk

*Deep Breath*...Running Form

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

running form is a function of strength

I've received several questions recently about running form, so I thought I'd address everyone all at once.  

What do I need to know about good running form?

Just that form is a function of strength.  The short strength circuits I design for you are targeted specifically to areas that will improve your running.  Remember, the strength I assign is there to support your running, not specifically to build strength.  What I assign you does not in any way replace what you do with a trainer or a strength class in the gym.  I have never pretended that my 5-minute circuits are equal to an hour of bootcamp.  What I can say: the strength moves I assign will absolutely support your running without detracting from your energy reserves or recovery; I cannot say the same about your bootcamp.  Those classes are HARD, yo.  I'm a distance runner.  I don't go hard without a really good reason and a rest day to follow.

Key takeaway: work on specific strength and follow the golden rule of form and everything will fall into place over time.

What's the golden rule of form?

LOCK YOUR CAGE.  That's the golden rule of form.  I demonstrate in the video here:

A 'locked cage' means draw your shoulderblades together and try to tap the sides of your waist with your elbows.  This is the best form cue I've ever received.  When you do this, your back will straighten, your shoulders will be drawn over your hips and your lower abdomen will engage. Once this happens, it is nearly impossible to overstride (unconsciously.  Sure if you TRY to overstride, nothing will stop you...but it will be hard to keep up for long, you'll get tired.). Every half mile or so, I want you to hear me in the back of your head screaming LOCK YOUR CAGE!!!!!!  Take a second to roll your shoulders and re-assess your form.  Your form will improve over time with SSCs. Doing more than locking your cage will give you too much to think about and stress you out. 

How about cadence?

Cadence is a function of many things.  It is also not easily changed, so it's something we don't worry about until we've knocked out all of the easy-to-change-stuff.  Same for footstrike.  If your glutes aren't firing, if the glute med is weak, if your core doesn't engage and you have nothing supporting you in the TVA area, we will be much better off addressing those issues since they ARE easily changed.  Low-hanging fruit tastes just as sweet and we get results faster.  Plus, I can shoot holes through the logic in the existing cadence studies.  Don't bring those to me.   If you are really worried about form and I cannot convince you otherwise, go find $100 and give Lumo Run a try.  It's a little device you wear on your lower back that measures hip movement in different planes of motion.  I'm all about anything that makes you more confident.  Plus, it assigns all the same exercises I do (hip figure 8's, clamshells, etc) which makes me happy.  I'm all for anything that reinforces the things I ask you to do.  ;-)

Coach MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLCwhere she coaches all kinds of runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular training plan, Tenacious AF!

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