Off Season Running. The Perfect time to Perfect your Technique

Craig Neale

Physiotherapist      

During season is always a busy time with training, racing as well as all that other stuff that gets in the way like work, family, socialising etc.  Now that the pressure is off a little and the intensity has changed, it is the perfect time to work on any weakness or just master some skills.

Running like all sports is one that requires constant perfection especially as the potential for injury is high with even the smallest deviation from neutral biomechanics.

Changing motor patterns of movement takes continual concentration for a minimum of 6 weeks.  Identifying areas that need change or improvement and then prioritising these will guide your focus.  Depending on your level of experience, focus should be on one key area at a time.

Although individuals may have specific issues, the three key components that comprise good form include:

  • Your Running Posture ie the way you hold and move your body
  • Your foot turnover or Cadence
  • Foot strike which for endurance based running should be mid foot

Good running Posture should have a stable trunk/core without excessive rotation, hips should be forward, you should feel tall, arms and shoulders relaxed and a slight lean forwards from the ankles which results in forward momentum.

Ideal Cadence is around 170-180 steps per minute or approximately 3 per second.  This minimises the risk of over striding, reduces vertical displacement and is more efficient for endurance running.

Mid foot landing utilises the ankle/foot complex as a dampening mechanism to soften landing.  It is the forces associated with ground contact that causes all injury.  Therefore reducing the rate of loading minimises the risk of injury.

Other tips to help you improve your technique include:

  • Listen to your footsteps.  Quietening or softening point of contact
  • Focus on one technical change at a time and catch yourself if you find your loosing concentration
  • Use video of your own running to help understand what your doing
  • Model your run on an expert.  Copy their running technique
  • If your not sure what to focus on, see an expert

Running biomechanics is a special interest of mine.  Simple video analysis can give you tips on what to work on.  Call on Craig at Hobsonville Physiotherapy on 4164455