With gyms closed it looks like a lot of people have been ‘discovering the joys of running outside’.
But in some cases it looks as though they’ve also been discovering that running outside is not such a joy after all.
I’ve written in some of my previous blogs that, far from being something that comes naturally, running is something that most humans, certainly most modern humans, don’t do well at all. Indeed many regular runners don’t do it well.
Does it matter?
To a certain degree this depends on why you run. If it burns some calories, gets you outside and makes you feel good about yourself …and those are the important things to you… why does it matter if you don’t look (or feel) as comfortable and relaxed as Mo Farah? You’re never going to go as fast as him after all.
But on the other hand you might enjoy it more if your technique were good. You would go further and faster, and whilst running with poor technique might be ‘good exercise’ that’s only from a cardio-vascular perspective. It can be quite damaging for your muscles, bones and joints. And if they’re too damaged they’ll limit how much of it you can do …which obviously limits the cardio benefit too.
So if you’re still reading you might be asking how to set about changing your running technique, and how easy is it to do.
The ease, or otherwise, of changing and improving running technique falls somewhere between swimming and cycling. Most people understand that technique is fundamental to swimming. The phrase ‘swimming lesson’ isn’t met with a quizzical response, and remodelling or refining swimming technique whilst simultaneously trying to float, breathe and move takes a lot of time and perseverance. Cycling, on the other hand, simply involves powering the bike. You’re ‘fixed’ in position so just having the bike set up correctly makes a massive difference in single session.
Working on running technique involves understanding what it is that you’re trying to do, working on movement patterns that activate the right muscles, and building enough strength in the supporting muscles to hold it all together without the water or a saddle to bear your weight. It’s not a quick fix, but working on technique, by substituting some of your time and mileage with drills and conditioning exercises, can make your running sessions a whole load more interesting.
Most running sessions, guidance and coaching are cardio vascular training: combinations of times, distances and speeds to build endurance. Sure, you might go faster, but speed that’s purely a consequence of fitness disappears as soon as your fitness drops. Speed that’s based on skill lasts much better.
Why not read some of my other running related items?