We’ve been working on improving running form with the Runity program for some time now.
The usual way with most casual runners is that we tend to think of our natural running styles, developed over years of experience and progression, as the ‘right’ way, or at least is adequate for what we’re doing.
After all, this isn’t about racing in the Olympics and more for personal satisfaction and fitness, right?
Well the fact is, even if you’re not a highly competitive runner, tuning your running form for better efficiency has plenty of benefits, chief among them is that you’ll actually get more gains from each workout session, and all those weird aches may actually start to go away.
When Runity Master Trainer Daniel Dittmar first did a full assessment of my regular running form, what stood out was that my left and right leg movements were grossly asymmetrical. Being right side dominant, my right leg was lifting higher and actually paced quicker than my left. It’s hard to see with the naked eye, but a video recording with properly placed and tracked timing markers showed that this was a fairly consistent phenomenon.
Vertical oscillation was also a cause for concern. Even though it didn’t look like much, there was a measurable amount of bounce in my step, wasting energy in upward movements. I was also spending a little too much time on the ground with each step. In other words, my movement was closer to ‘plodding’ than ‘springing’.
These are the main points, and every participant will get a fully detailed report, examining every aspect of your movement, with a discussion on how each component can be adjusted for better efficiency.
The program is not meant to grossly change the way you do things but work constructively with your habits to tune the way you run. The goal is to enable you to run faster and train the muscles in a more constructive way, for the same perceived effort.
Daniel suggested a selection of drills to execute during my regular running sessions. If you’re anything like me and do not really care for the idea of taking time out from your distance runs for drills, these are perfect.
I was given a short list of cadence-based drills that could be incorporated into any regular run. Based on a variety of dynamic leg lifts and also counting pacing with a metronome, they blended right into my regular sessions on tarmac.
Here’s where I discovered that the metronome is really handy for timing your cadence. For those not musically inclined, the metronome is the ‘tick tock’ clock that musicians practice to maintain timing with. These days, you can find free phone apps that allow you to set a beat to any speed that you want. Set it to the cadence you need on a treadmill or use earphones outdoors, and away you go.
The dynamic mobility exercises that I was taught to counter the effects of my muscular imbalances, started to show dividends after about three weeks of consistent practice. The point with the initial range of motion test is that it shows up deficiencies in each person’s movement range, depending on what the person does regularly.
Now the easy way out is to think that, “since these areas are deficient because I never use them anyway, what bother?”
The truth is, after persisting for a few weeks I felt myself really start to limber up a little more. I will never become as flexible as a gymnast, but the additional dynamic exercises that I could do conveniently and quickly at home were aimed are activating the deeper core muscles and getting the limbs moving in other directions. These really do make a difference on the run, especially for time-strapped professionals with little time for much else.
The Runity program is aimed at restoring the body’s natural movement form, which for most of us have devolved from years of sitting at deskbound jobs. With continuous online support tailored for every individual sign up, I could go online to look at my own prescribed tutorials and suggestions for training, as well as be linked to the wider Runity community and trainers.
If you’re suitably intrigued, find out more about the Runity program at http://www.focuspilates.com.sg/runningassessment.html