Run form – Colin's Corner

We get taught how to swim, we get taught how to ride a bike but seldom do we get taught how to run! I was lucky enough to get taught how to run by Mike Trees, former No2 in the World Elite Duathlon and Masters World record holder. Mike is a leading authority on run form and after he saw me run 2years ago we started working together and it has benefited me greatly. I have shared some tips below.
 
Lean forward - Leaning forward will automatically place the legs under the body rather than out in front (like a unicycle). This allows us to use gravity and the muscle elasticity rather than breaking every step and creating more pressure on the knee and hip joint, which in turn helps reduce injuries related to these areas. Note, that landing mid to front foot will put more emphasis on the calf/achilles and that's a key reason to build up slow (otherwise you'll have calf's like concrete). Looking in the mirror on the treadmill will make you more aware of where you are.
 
Stride length - Once shortened, the stride is behind you not in front (thus not breaking every step)
 
Shoes - Naturally you will be fore-mid foot if you run barefoot (school sports day), and the more 'padding' you have in the trainer or greater 'step' the harder it is to land mid-forefoot. Asics 'Gel Nimbus' are a classic example of this as is the commerciality of running in the 80's with shoe companies (namely Nike selling v cushioned shoes). BUT if we change we need to make the transition very slowly. If, like most people (because of hyper cushioned shoes), your arches are a little weak - strengthen using crunches and rolling a small ball under the arch would be the first point of call. If you quickly change the shoes - you'll quickly be injured! Strength first - change later (and slow at that).
 
Drills - These accelerate the learned process. If you can fit in the drill post run all the better. You can also perform the drills up a slight hill - this accentuates good form - as does hill sprints and general sprinting ! Simple high knees and bum kicks post run are a starting point.
 
Timing - When you have been running a certain way for a lifetime the changes take time, patience and a lot of practice. No quick fix in this game. That said, DO NOT think about 'form' every time you run out the door, its mentally exhausting and physically you are using slightly different muscles that have previously been under used (and thus will fatigue quicker!). Wait until the end of the season to get started!
 
This is Craig Alexander running in Kona 2014. He has one of the best running forms in triathlon and is one of the greatest long distance athletes ever - he is mid-foot here (at the end of an IRONMAN!)