A little ‘natural’ running

No, I don’t mean the Richard Jelfs definition of natural! I came across this video the other day. Now firstly, I don’t expect everyone to start running around barefoot. I do think there are a lot of benefits to be gained by including some barefoot running activities, such as drills and stride outs, in your training program. The majority of the population probably could train themselves to run barefoot or in minimalist footwear. I am realistic and don’t believe everyone will be able to do this due to the structure and function of their body.

Given our recent focus on running technique I thought you would find this video interesting. Not quite as exciting as Killian J trail running in slow motion but interesting none the less. Our focus over the next few weeks is the swing phase of the running gait cycle. The swing phase can be described as the period when the foot is in the air for limb advancement. The swing phase can be further sub-divided into initial swing, mid swing and terminal swing.

A couple of things to pay attention to. Firstly, notice how once the foot leaves the ground (initial swing begins) and the the thigh starts to move forward, the knee flexes and the heel moves towards the buttock. As the thigh continues to move forward, the knee will start to extend until the lower leg is in a vertical position (end of mid swing). Notice that the knee never fully extends and how the whole leg is actually moving posteriorly (backwards) before the foot strikes the ground (end of terminal swing).

Perhaps I am stating the obvious but I think it is important to understand that running technique changes as pace changes. This is also illustrated in the video. This is also why we should not necessarliy try to run like the pros. Not only are their bodies different to ours but in most cases they are also running much faster! There are however some fundamental principles that apply to all of us and this is what we will emphasise in our training. There are a few points in the video that  are still a little controversial. The idea that everyone should run with a cadence of 180 steps per minute for example. I’ll leave this for another blog though.

I know how much you love the track sessions. Given the fact that most of you were still recovering from your weekend exploits last Tuesday we have decided to run the track session again this Tuesday. So see you at Mile End Stadium on Tuesday night at 7pm. Remember the £2.90 entry fee!

See you in the weekend I hope. Tim (LFTC Coach)

One response to “A little ‘natural’ running

  1. Nice video. Totally agree that doing a few barefoot strides gives you masses of feedback on your running form. Interested to read that the 180 cadence is controversial – everything I’ve read suggests this is a good ball park figure. Having said that I’ve never seen the results of a controlled study.

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