Slow Down To Speed Up

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Runners tend to train at the same level most of the time.  Any variance tends to be an attempt to run faster to improve speed or prepare for a race.  Slowing down and focusing on form can actually provide the greatest return on investment of time.

Runners with truly efficient form are in the minority.  I’ve always recommend starting every run at a pace that’s 2 minutes per mile slower than you expect to average for the remaining miles of the run.  This is the perfect time to focus on form and finding a rhythm that can be sustained to the end of the run.  Far too many runners land with their feet in front of their center of gravity and on their heels.  Although this will allow a runner to maintain forward momentum, it creates a braking effect and disrupts the rhythm of the run.  It also places unnecessary and harmful stress on the lower extremities that leads to injuries.

Landing with your feet directly beneath your body (center of gravity) and leaning slightly forward from the ankles (not the waist) will provide a position of efficiency that requires less energy to run.  The ideal stride rate is 180 SPM (steps per minute).

Inefficient running is like driving a car with the front-end misaligned.  The tires wear unevenly and prematurely, and the fuel mileage is severely affected.  When I see poor or inefficient running form, I see a runner needlessly struggling to propel themselves forward.

It seems counterintuitive that you can run faster and farther with less effort.  But it’s absolutely true when you focus on efficient running form and sustain it throughout each run.

Slow down and be mindful of your body position and you’ll discover a new realm of efficient running and enjoyment.


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