When Function Follows Form

A runner’s form is just as important as a swimmer’s stroke or a biker’s pedaling technique.

That’s chiefly because multi-disciplined endurance athletes must balance any injury, any inherent muscle weaknesses or one-side body favoring that can cause minor aches or pains that lead to inflammation or major setbacks from chronic pain and severe injuries.

Not only does a focus on proper running form save you from injuries, it also helps you gain a higher biomechanic efficiency. As running guru George Sheehan said: “The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form.”

Here are a few form drills to complete after your next workout. Complete each for about 50 meters, one or two times per week.

“A” Walk - Slowly pause and balance after you bring your knee as high as you can. This improves stabilizer and hip flexor strength.

High Knee Skip Drill - Skip while raising your knees as high as you can.

Straight Legs - Run forward with legs. Kick legs in front and return them in a quick motion.

Backward running - Jog backwards and gradually build speed and acceleration. Focus on smooth form. Try reverse-to-forward accelerations after backward running.

Sideways Cross-Over - Do this drill on both sides of the body. It is exactly the same motion as a karaoke movement, but the key is to bring the lead knee up high and over the trailing leg.

Bounding - Jog and work up into an accelerated speed. Picture your forward movement as deer-like. Keep your stride as open you push upward.

Butt kicks - Work on your hamstrings by kicking your leg or foot all the way up to your butt. Make sure the kick is smooth with not too much forward movement. For more information about proper running drills or to have your running form analyzed professionally, visit www.getzoomperformance.com.

Zoom Performance is a professional endurance coaching company working with athletes from beginner triathletes to Ironman World Championship qualifiers.  Certified coaches provide customized programs along with metabolic testing, bike fit, one-on-one analysis, clinics, and sports nutrition programs to allow athletes to take it to the next level.

By Mackenzie Madison Zoom Performance Level 1 coach, USAT and USAC certified; masters in exercise physiology

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