Run with TriJake

Run with TriJake

13, March 2014, posted by

Think you know how to run? Whenever I host a running clinic I always ask the room this question. How many of you know how to run? Being that it is a running clinic, everybody in the room raises their hand. Then I ask them, how many of you were taught how to run? Almost all of the hands drop. The fact is, people are not taught how to run. It’s such a simple activity. After all, isn’t running just accelerated walking? I would like to be clear that the answer to that question is no. Running is running, walking is walking. The gates are entirely different, and how your body reacts to both activities is entirely different. So, let’s talk running.

If you run as an acceleration of your walk gate you will inevitably hurt your ankles, your knees, your hips, and your lower back. The reason being is because your walking gate requires a firm heal strike, leaving the body behind the plane of forward movement. The force comes from the toe-off of the back foot to push your body mass into the forward plane moving you forward. This is a very efficient way to walk. However, it is a very inefficient way to run. Two main reasons. 1.) Your heel is not designed to absorb the greater impact that is required by the speed and force of running. 2.) It takes extra energy to toe-off and propel your body forward from the rear plane to the forward plane. These two reasons suggest that a forward leaning, midfoot strike running stride is best for efficient running.

I am not anti-heel strike. Eventually during long runs it is inevitable that your heel will strike the ground. But there is a difference between allowing your heel to touch the ground while maintaining natural elasticity of a run stride and kicking your legs forward, locking the knee and creating a stiff impact point from ankle, to knee, to hip, then lower back. There are many great teachers out there that use many different methods to teach runners how to utilize their bodies natural elasticity to maintain a healthy running gate. Most of them use a barefoot training method.

With the exception of a low percentage of runners, most people cannot sustain the barefoot running gate for more than a mile before they put themselves at risk for injury. Most distance runners have difficulty with moderation. They’re either running around on Hoka foam pads or nothing at all. But, there is a middle ground. First, let’s talk about how to get you into a better running form. When I say “better” I mean to say is more efficient. This is were training barefoot earns it’s keep. Kick your shoes off and march in place. Then, jog in place. Notice how your heel doesn’t touch the ground until after your midfoot. Now, go to an open area and jog barefoot. Your stride shortens, you naturally develop a forward lean, an your heels kick up higher behind you. All this from running barefoot. I recommend my clients do all their warm up drills barefoot. It gets you in the right groove.

That said, I do not agree with the idea of running long distances barefoot or with barefoot style shoes. I have a couple thoughts on this, but first let me say I know people believe barefoot running helps them run long distances. If you find it works for you, then run, I did for 9 months. After, conceding the fact that I was faster and more comfortable running marathons and ultras in a stabilizing shoe I now only do running drills barefoot. Barefoot running is the best way to learn proper running form, but when it comes to race day I prefer something that will last 26, 50, or even 100 miles.

I play around with different shoes and techniques as all athletes and many sports do, I’m not committed to a brand. That said, I find Brooks to be a great and reliable brand. I’m about to run 46 miles through the Grand Canyon in Brooks Defiance D7. Because I practice and drill barefoot it puts me in the proper gate to land on my midfoot, slightly pronated, and in the forward plane while wearing a pair of sneaks that has durability and support to keep my feet comfortable for hours. Plus, if going along and need to walk a little, the Traditional sneakers give my heel support to walk a while.

I take many clients through this training and teaching module every year. Every year people run better under this instruction. I did not invent it. I purely try to carry the message of pure running form to others. The best runners in the world practice these drills. I also want to point out that the best distance runners in the world do not run their long distance races barefoot or in barefoot products.

If you want to become a runner, become a better runner, or learn more about how you can become more athletic in your every day life you need to contact me. We are all athletes and we can do more than we think we can. Smash through your preconceived limitations and breakthrough to a new empowered you. It takes actions.

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