Basic skills of running
If you’re just starting up with running – you should start by working on this set of basic skills first. If you’ve been involved in this sport for a while but haven’t had a chance or the desire to learn these – you should seriously reconsider your approach to your own well-being.
Running done wrong can cause serious damage to your body as regular statistics confirm. Let’s not be part of those unfortunate stats. A good foundation is everything. Without it everything is flimsy, unstable, unreliable, can fall apart at any moment, etc.
What do we consider to be a good foundation in running?
Let’s get this out of the way. Running barefoot is not a running technique, it’s exactly what it is – running without shoes on. Nothing more. While it does help in learning correct running technique, running barefoot by itself does nothing to address the actual technique, the movement.
Technique is a skill of doing whatever it is you’re doing. Running technique is a skill of movement of a runner.
Anyone can run and that’s part of the problem with people ignoring the necessity of learning how to run correctly. While anyone can bang a few notes on the piano, the difference between a skilled piano player and a person that never learned how to play the piano is obvious. Playing piano good or bad presents no physical danger to the player, however, in running the physical damage can be severe.
What sense does it make to go for a 10K if your technique is less than good? What will you achieve? You might satisfy your ego for exactly 5 minutes, but you will most likely inflict a certain level of (sometimes irreparable) damage on your body that might not allow you to run for a long while. You might also acquire a subconscious fear of getting hurt again when running that will without a doubt affect the way you move when you run. It’s a domino effect.
Sorting out running technique is a must and is the first thing that anyone who likes to run should focus on. Period.
2. Technique training
So you learn the technique, you now know how to run. Are you done? No. Maintaining your running technique is part of your running skills.
But check it out – there is training and there is technique specific training. Technique training should always be included into the general training process. But if you’re not competing and just run because you like it, you can simply do technique specific training on regular basis and that will be ok.
Technique training does not have to be complicated and as a matter of fact you can keep it very simple. Take a few of basic running drills (the running pose, wall fall, body weight perception, front lunge, kick starter), balance exercises (side to side pendulum, crisscross, twist) and strength exercises (hip dips, Russian hammy, elevated front lunge), include rope jumping, some flexibility exercises (on separate days or as a cool down) and you can do well with that setup. The key is to do these regularly to support your running habit. (Anyone who runs is eventually addicted to it… so, there…)
Whether you’re training with a Running Technique Specialist or by yourself, technique training is a fascinating process. The more you do it, the more you get involved, the more you notice how intricate it could be if you want it to be, the more it draws you in, the more you seek perfection in your movement… ah, human nature…
3. Technique error correction
You should be able to detect, identify and correct the very basic errors in your technique in order for you to thrive as a runner. In order to do that, you have to know and understand running technique and the standard that exists in movement. This brings me to highlighting one of the best and most important aspects of Pose Method and it’s application in running. In Pose Method there is a clearly defined standard of movement, which makes learning and teaching running technique a simple matter. And because there is a standard there is a clear process of identifying and correcting errors that don’t fit or fall outside of that standard.
What if you’re on the trail run and you feel pain under your knee? You’re sure not going to stop, dial for help and sit there waiting for anything. What you also shouldn’t do is keep on running through that pain. And guess what? You don’t have to.
In the Pose Method of running there is clearly defined set of errors in technique that cause specific running injuries. There is also a clear way to correct them and to reinforce good pattern of movement, i.e. correct running technique. Knowing these errors and ways to correct them on the fly is a convenient thing that could make a huge difference when you’re running.
There is always a point where you need a Technique Specialist to provide you with a professional opinion and assistance. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s causing an issue. This is where filming your running comes in very handy and subsequent video analysis by a professional could help you identify errors and help you address them in a timely manner. But your ability to help yourself whenever and wherever needed is essential.
All three points can be as simple or as complicated as they need to be at any given stage of your progress as a runner. These are not one level structures but rather multi dimensional, multilayer mazes that never end. In a good way of course. And, as you progress, as you get better and better at running, you will notice that your understanding of the subject, your perception change with you. You will see that while you get better there is always more room for improvement, more to learn, to understand.
So these three are the basics, the foundation of running, the very minimum required, the necessary skills. Every other thing beyond this is an additional skill that could be or should be acquired but is not necessary and depends on the direction you want to take.
Sprinters, marathoners, ultra runners, and every one else who runs as part of their training regimen, will have their own sets of skills acquired that are specific to their type of running event. But these three are the basics that everyone should start from. These are the foundation of running.
We will dwell in great detail on each one of the three in our upcoming articles. So make sure to return to continue reading on this subject.
To help you jump-start your progress as a runner regardless of your current skill level, we’ve put together a Transition Program that will take you 12 weeks to complete. It could take you less or more time – depends on how you would like to proceed. The program is specifically designed in such a way so anybody – heel-strikers or not – could start it and transition to a better running technique within 12 weeks.
The program also includes important information on running related injuries, their most common causes and how to address them which would help you with correction of errors in your running technique.
- Self assessment instructions
- Six point running video analysis
- Proper body alignment in running
- Tracking your progress
- How to gauge your body’s training needs
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