I speak to a lot of runners, to be honest I speak to nobody else but runners and occasionally my wife and kids but mainly runners. Most days I get emails and messages coming through from them with questions about injuries, niggles (and the hope it doesn't become an injury!), session advice, pacing questions and at the moment lots and lots of people just really struggling with getting out the door and running.
Lockdown has been so hard on everyone and this latest one seems to be have made a lot of runners question exactly what is the point, no races on the horizon, no parkrun and simply no motivation to put on their trainers and get out the front door.
So, what do we do about it?
Well we buy new trainers obviously but what if....and stay with me here, what if new trainers don't help?
Its going to be a while before we can get back out training in groups and even longer before races are back but now more than ever its so important that we are active and get outside in the fresh air. So, how about we change our perspective and move away from training for an event and instead train simply to run and maybe to be a better runner, a more efficient runner, an injury proofed runner, maybe even a more beautiful runner.
So we could spend time working on strength and conditioning, introducing some plyometrics and pilates but we dont want to do that because it's hard and lets face it, it's all a bit boring.
So, here's an idea. What about taking it all back a stage or two and actually thinking about form for once.
Where to start?
So where do we start?
Change your footstrike? Keep your head up? Try and land more gently? Fix those arms which you appear to have no control over? Open your eyes? Drive from the shoulders more or should that be less? Try and breath so it doesn't sound like you're about to explode? Hear rate zone training? Try and get more vertical oscillation or maybe it's supposed to be less? What the hell is vertical oscillation anyway? Oh I know, how about barefoot running and eat some chia seeds, that's bound to work isn't it.
So much to think about isn't there?
Keep it simple...for now...
It's so hard to write about 'how' to run, it's so much easier to go out and work with runners.
But let's try looking at the basics and i'm going to give you one thing to focus on as a mantra if you like and that is simply to 'run tall'. Anytime you try and focus on changing something that is a natural movement the mental impact can be exhausting, so as a starting point lets just think about running tall.
So what does that mean in practice? Firstly, it means to relax, a relaxed runner will always move more fluidly and secondly, when you go out try and imagine you are being lifted very gently from the top of your head, your feet are still resting on the floor but very lightly , your shoulders are loose and relaxed, your legs feel light and bouncy and then just run, just relax and run.
If you feel yourself tensing up, then shake out your arms mid run and refocus on running tall, repeat it to yourself if you have to. Forget about pace for once and stop looking at your Garmin, take in the sights, say hello to every runner you pass, listen to some music, arrange to run with a friend and run tall, always run tall.
Running tall is the first step, it's a nice easy starting point to just lift your running and your form and the starting point for so many runners.
Want to take it a little bit further? Are you interested in properly having your running looked at? Wondering why you keep picking up niggles and injuries? New to running and struggling? Experienced runner wanting to take it up a level?
Whatever age, ability and experience level you are is not important, everybody can benefit from another set of eyes and a fresh perspective.
A Runner's Report from EQuilbrium is a 90 minute one to one session looking at running background, injury history, balance, mobility and flexibility using video analysis and a bespoke report with all findings summarised and analysed.
If you're interested then please drop me a message, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.