What’s the secret to good form?
There are some runners who run beautifully, like a gazelle, it’s just awe-dropping and inspiring to watch. I’m not one of them.
My hips are sometimes off and therefore shoulders aren’t level. My feet sometimes hit the ankles and knees knock. Both are issues with hips and over pronation (ankle rolling inward).
I’m not your girl to watch for perfect and inspiring form.
Instead, let’s just agree that there’s an ideal form, but it varies between runners due to:
👉🏻👟🏃♀️ Body structure
👉🏻👟🏃♀️ Strength and coordination of large and small muscle groups
👉🏻👟🏃♀️ Distractions and what you choose to carry (believe me when I say that holding a sign when pacing can dramatically throw off my form)
👉🏻👟🏃♀️ Neuromuscular wiring (how your brain, muscles, and nervous system interact) for efficient running and less fatigue).
Honestly! There are a lot of moving variables – literally – to control for running faster paces. And interestingly enough, most runners experience less pain and injury when paces and distances vary, because just running more miles DOES NOT MAKE YOU FASTER!
It’s not about running longer and more miles! Running faster requires you to work with what you have and improve your running game with three deliberate actions. Running faster requires you to dial in your best form and efficiency by maximizing the way your legs (and arms) propel you forward. It’s about working with what you have and improving upon it.
How do you get to that next level?…the next PR?
PR’s require that you increase pace over time, and that means having better form, increasing oxygen efficiency (aerobic fitness), and improving neuromuscular wiring (your brain’s perception to fatigue). You simply cannot go faster and longer if your oxygen, form, and mental game are not supporting you for the distance.
There are at least 3 actions you can take today to improve your running game and to increase pace for a PR.
1) Improve your oxygen efficiency and muscle recovery with the addition of certain foods into your diet, especially pre and post run. The research is clear that beet juice increase nitric oxide to improve oxygen flow to brain and muscles while antioxidants including tart cherry juice decreases post-run oxidative stress. This combination allows you to go faster and longer, because you experience less brain and muscle fatigue simply by eating/drinking the right foods! What’s more, with proper recovery fuel to include the right ratio of carbohydrates and protein in combination with protein, you experience significantly faster muscle recovery to get back out on the road, engaging in targeted, challenging runs with little to no down time. (Unplanned downtime is not to be mistaken with targeted recovery, which is absolutely necessary).
***My health coach code “pacerkristen” provides 25% or $50 off your order of the organic, whole food sources beet juice, tart cherry juice, and plant-based protein powder I recommend and use with my clients
- Purium’s Can’t Beet This (pre-run) contains herbs and plants to support energy, electrolytes, and oxygen efficiency
- Purium’s MVP Sport, (post-run) contains 32 grams protein, and is perfect for muscle recovery and oxidative stress
- Apothe Cherry (concentrated, tart, post-run) contains high antioxidants and natural melatonin to support better sleep, each one supporting more rapid recovery
2) Add speed work through strides and sprints (both flat and hilly surfaces). Adding targeted speed work at varied distances and terrain is critical. Just running more miles does nothing for improved pace; instead it increases risk of injury. Instead, an effective coach and training plan will provide you with deliberate, speedy paces that are based on your personal, estimated VO2 Max and a realistic goal race pace. Please note, I find many runners attempting arbitrary speed work, which is significantly slower than capabilities and requirement.
3) Add strength training to large AND SMALL muscle groups, especially in the glute and hip areas. Glute activation is required for running fast, yet, I’ve paced many a marathon with runners in my group asking, “how the heck do I activate my glutes?” Hips and glutes rule the day when running, and an effective training plan will include targeted exercises to work muscles to fatigue in forward, lateral/side, and rotational/diagonal patterns. Working to fatigue increases endurance to muscles and brain, and it also increases your fast twitch muscle groups required to run fast! And since running is nothing more than a coordinated series of pulls, levers, and propulsion, it makes sense to include strength training and to work up to plyometrics, in which your body adapts to explosive movement using ground energy strikes.
Few of us have perfect or ideal form, and few of us maximize our abilities through nutrition, efficient form, aerobic (oxygen) activity, and improved neuromuscular wiring.
Are you ready for less pain, better recovery, more mental fortitude, and optimal running? Let’s talk!