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Barefoot running

foot pain, Health, running

How to Run Better, The Basics

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There are a few easy things that everyone can apply to their running to decrease injury, pain and simply make running easier and faster! Today we are simply going to show you how to run better

This is perfect for those of you that have regular niggles or if you have plateaued with your running and need a way to step it up. So here is your easy guide on to how to run better and improve your run!

running cadence 1801: Cadence:

This is basically the number of steps that you take per minute and for best efficiency, this should be 90 steps per minute on each foot (180 total per minute). To achieve this, first of all, you need to measure what your current cadence is. You can do this by counting the amount of steps your right foot takes in one minute.

Try then increasing your rate (if needed) and time again in another 5 minutes. The trick is to think like you are running on an icy or slippery surface and your heels are coming up behind you. This could well feel awkward to do at first and can take weeks to get used to, but once you get used to it, running will feel much easier.

Tip: A great way to improve your running cadence and run better is to use a metronome (some examples here)

how to stop overstriding2: Don’t stride out:

When striding out the foot lands on the heel and with the leg relatively straight out. This creates a braking force up through the leg and acts to slow you down, meaning YOU have to work harder.

Run better by kicking your heels up more – don’t run with straight legs!

 

3: Think smooth, light and easy:

If you look at the best medium to long distance runners you will see they have very little upward head movement (less bobbing up and down). This means less wasted energy! So to run better, we need to lean our body weight forward more and imagine projecting yourself forward and slightly up. Practice standing 1 meter in front of a wall and leaning forward through bending at your ankles until you are about to fall forward and then come back again in order to get a feeling of shifting your body weight forward.

Exercise: Practice standing 1 meter in front of a wall and leaning forward through bending at your ankles until you are about to fall forward and then come back again in order to get a feeling of shifting your body weight forward.

Remember – Perseverance is key with this! You will feel like you can just keep running and running when this becomes second nature – and then you tell others how to run properly – I still find it amazing that no one gets taught how to run!

Lastly, check out the video below of what I think is some close to perfect (no one is perfect) running:

YouTube player

 


running, training

Minimalist and Barefoot running – Must know exercises

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Barefoot running – Is booming at the moment all around the world, here we will discuss a little about it and how to transition to and run bare foot safely to avoid common running injuries such as shin splints, foot and knee pain. It is so important to do it properly and invest in your body – and as a bonus your running will get easier!

Having recently read the book “born to run”, it really has altered my way of thinking about running and also backed up a lot of what I was thinking already. The great thing about this book is that is has got people talking and discussing proper running bio-mechanics and the modern running shoe.

I have heard a lot recently that barefoot running and minimalist shoes are a fad. But ask yourself this: Are running shoes the real fad and barefoot running the tried and true way to run?

Humans have been running and hunting barefoot for over 2 million years, but only using running shoes for the past century. This is hugely thought provoking and it is great to see people’s perceptions changing. Have a watch of the below video in its entirety and let me know your opinion as it is a great summary of the argument for barefoot running.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2JWUhW5yRdI

Now I am not saying minimalist or barefoot running is the answer to your problems and pains when exercising but it is certainly something that can be if you go about it the right way. This is purely because wearing these supportive running shoes takes a large amount of the sensory receptors in your foot out of the picture and so your body is less aware if you are landing badly and doing yourself damage – that is the main flaw in modern running shoes. Try taking off your shoes and running barefoot for a short distance (on grass to start) and notice how your running style changes – no longer putting so much impact through your heel!

Now if you are looking to try barefoot running /minimalist running OR are having trouble making the transition, continue reading as going about it the wrong way can certainly lead to injuries and pain.

1. You cannot jump straight from your supportive runners to a pair of Vibrams or the like. You need to gradually transition your shoes so that your body can adapt and build the necessary muscle endurance.

2. Gradually build up your miles.

3. Start training your muscles to do the work so that you don’t need padded arches! Perform these two exercises regularly throughout the day and once you can do them easily – then you can start building up your minimalist running.

Exercise # 1. Heel raises: perform 36 heel raises on each foot (one at a time). Tips: do one raise each second and have one finger placed on a wall for minimal support. You need to be able to comfortably and easily do this amount – so build up and persevere.

Exercise # 2. Clams+: Not your usual clams – these isolate and strengthen your gluts to enhance the bio-mechanics of the lower limb.Clam exercise plus - gluteus medius strengthening, pelvic stability

Technique: lie on your side with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your shoulders, hips and ankles are in alignment. now place your upper elbow on the ground in front and have your upper knee stick 2 inches out over your lower knee so that your hips do not roll backwards. nearly there!

Now keeping your ankles together, lift your upper knee 8 inches (20 cm) and then lower down again, making sure you control it. Start with doing 10 reps on each side and build up to 36 (you will really feel the burn in your gluteus medius).

These two exercises can be done little and often throughout the day.

4. Take a look at my recent post on ironing out your running technique as these tips are a must for all runners.

Give it a go and persevere!

Enjoy =-)


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