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Principles of Running

Mechanics

Everyone has a different style. Good mechanics or running form is about optimal mobility, improving energy economy, and preventing injury.

(See the video above for reference.)

  • Cadence: Run “across” the ground (feet “roll”), light like the ground is hot (at c.180+ steps/min). This will result in less impact force per stride, and should be applied even to easy runs.
  • Braking Force: This is about the point of foot contact or strike, which should be under one’s center of gravity or point of mass. The body leans slightly forward, propelling it forward with gravity, all the while minimizing ground contact time.
  • Pelvic Drop: Avoid side-to-side hip motion, which can indicate that hips and/or gluts may be weak. The desire is to have stable hips from a strong core, hamstrings, and gluts.
  • Rotation: Arm motion; the desire is forward-backward (80-90º angle at elbow) not side-to-side. Supplement this with tall posture and arm power (e.g. push-ups). Feet go where arms go, including cadence (also impacted by breathing rhythm). The emphasis is forward motion.
  • Balance/Vertical Oscillation: Minimize head bobbing. Keep the chin level, so as to not cut off airway. This is about fine-tuning, influenced by the aforementioned elements.

Practice & Development

  • Pre-run Warm Up: (before every run) Active stretches designed to reduce tension and prepare the body for running.
  • Drills: (at least 2-3 times per week) Fine-tuning muscle groups and joints with regards to functional strength.
  • Dynamic Stretching: Though primarily designed to prepare for a speed workout or race, these can supplement the aforementioned drills in sharpening running mechanics (especially when observed by an experienced coach).
  • Core Exercises: Designed to help reinforce strength and mechanics, such as arm power (another gear of speed), posture, and breathing power. 
  • Static Stretching: Predominantly helps improve flexibility, which influences mechanics (mobility) and thereby speed.

Training

For those who have never run before, a Walk/Run Progression is often the safest place to begin. 

Otherwise, while there are principles of training, the specific design that will produce the most successful results is relative to the goals and history of each individual (to name but a few variables). There is no universal workout plan that leads to success, in other words; therefore, we encourage anyone who is serious about improving their running to connect directly with an experienced coach. 

Nutrition for Runners

Learn from registered dietitian and active runner, Claire Saxton, as she highlights the principles of a healthy, optimal diet for male and female runners of all ages and experience levels. 

Delve deeper with our partner, Michelle DeWolf, a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, as she discusses how focusing on your body’s microbiome can give you faster recovery and better fitness gains, all while improving your immune function, reducing inflammation, and overall improving the quality of your run!

Running Psychology

Explore how a mental focus strategy is pivotal to successful running. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or tackling your first marathon, understanding and harnessing different types of focus can be the key to unlocking your true potential. Learn from Natalia Marshak who holds master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and Sports Psychology, and is currently pursuing a PsyD in Clinical Psychology while working to be a certified mental performance consultant (CMPC). 

Unlock the power of your mind and stride towards peak performance. Learn from our partner, Dr. Keziah Lyu (PsyD), as she discusses the profound connection between mental health and running, introducing techniques to boost resilience and cultivate healthy coping skills for a more fulfilling and successful running journey.

Selecting Running Shoes

Learn from physical therapist, Dr. Rita Chorba, author of Which Running Shoes Are For Me: A 10-Step Guide to Evaluating Any Shoe (edited by our coach, Joshua Grubb).

Healthy Weight Loss

Learn from our partner, personal trainer Christin Craig, who discusses how to build a sustainable lifestyle to achieve successful fat loss.

“People may wonder why young [people] like to run distance races. What fun is it? Why all that hard, exhausting work? Where does it get you? Where’s the good of it? It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest [people]. When you see 20 or 30 [athletes] line up for a distance race in some meet, don’t pity them, don’t feel sorry for them. Better envy them instead. You are probably looking at the 20 or 30 best ‘bon vivants’ in the world. They are completely and joyously happy in their simple tastes, their strong and well-conditioned bodies, and with the thrill of whole-some competition before them. These are the days of their youth when you can run without weariness; these are their buoyant, golden days, and they are running because they love it. Their lives are fuller because of this competition and their memories will be far richer. That’s why [people] love to run. There is something clean and noble about it.”

– Brutus Hamilton (USA Track & Field Coach, 1924-1965)