Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Posted: January 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

practice makes perfect

I have never heard a runner mention they were going to practice.  But practicing proper running technique will improve your running economy and minimize the risk of injury.

Perfect practice literally begins with the first step.  The first mile should be at least 60 seconds slower than you expect to average for the remaining miles.  This accomplishes two important things, it allows your body to gradually warm up and helps to establish a rhythm of efficiency.

This is the checklist for proper and efficient running:

  • Keep your chin up and your head balanced over your shoulders
  • Shoulders should be relaxed, down and back
  • Hands should be relaxed (imagine holding fluttering butterflies) and kept close to your torso without crossing your midline
  • Land with a slight bend in your knees to help distribute force
  • Focus on running with the highest possible cadence with short strides and quick landings (imagine running through puddles and keeping the splash to a minimum)
  • Establish a pattern of rhythmic and relaxed breathing
  • Lean slightly forward from your ankles
  • Maintain a positive attitude throughout and manage the ‘demons of doubt’

Taking a brief (30-60 second) walk break at the conclusion of each mile allows you to sustain perfect form throughout each run.  I never complete a run without taking regular walk breaks.  I manage my runs in 1 mile segments.  Rather than completing a 10 mile run, I run ten 1 mile segments.  This is mentally and physically beneficial.  When you run a sustained effort it’s very likely that your form will diminish considerably, placing you at greater risk of injury.

Aside from focusing on improving your running form and efficiency, you should also try to improve your mobility, balance and core strength.  The latter miles of the marathon will be far more manageable when your form is perfect; having a strong chassis will be central to this effort.

The sooner you establish a habit of ‘perfect practice’ and focus on running in the moment (abiding by the aforementioned proper and efficient running checklist), the quicker your running will improve and realize your running potential!

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