HOW DOES YOUR PARTNER RUN?
Checking out their Running Form
Not all runners are created equal and the more you workout with your favorite running/workout partner the more this statement is true! Right? Well, after one day of working out with me, my husband called in a substitute. SHE is about 5'3", nothing but legs and her shoe size is a bit larger than mine. . .OH! and by the way, she can RUN! Yep, he got his own daughter to take his place. Whatever Mr. Man. . .bring it! LOL!
It's all good and I am very happy that we ran together because it inspired this blog entry today! The one thing that my daughter and I have been working on is her form. Younger runners, especially kids in middle school and high school run purely off of youth. What do I mean by that? These kids work with what they've got until a coach comes along and fixes running mechanics. They still don't have full control of how to use their bodies so as a coach, you can just send them out there and just let them go, have fun! There is plenty of time to correct technique, control their mileage and let them enjoy the sport of running. But as we get older and set in our ways. . .we do what we want to do and when we get injured, we blame our age. Yes, we make it complicated.
When I fell in love with running I was in the 8th grade. It was fun and at that time, we would just go out there and run until heads fell off! Once I got to high school and my coach found out I was pretty fast, we had to work on my mechanics quickly. My toes would turn in, my stride was WAY too long and my arms were EVERYWHERE! It took almost a year to correct all of that, but we got most of it under control and it worked because I started getting scholarship offers all over the country and decided on the University of MO where Coach Gatson perfected the form. . .just not my head! LOL!
How can your partner help you?
The one great thing about couples week, you have a partner who is painfully honest with you and that's the best coaching you can get! Here are just a few things tips that you guys and gals can follow to help one another run better and fix little things that can make you faster too!
1st. How do you know your form is off? If you run for a nice period of time and you tend to have the same pain in your back, neck, side of leg and sometimes even your foot. You are putting stress on one part of your body in order to maintain the form you currently have.
2nd. How can I correct my form? If you have access to a treadmill and a trainer/coach to watch your form, start there. This is where your partner can help out (along with a trainer) and watch you run. Run on a treadmill for about 5 minutes at a nice pace. Have them watch your head, shoulders and hand placement. Also, if you can have them watch you from the back and make sure that your chest is up, your body is straight and you are not leaning to the side in any way, you are good.
3rd. What is a quick description of good form? First, just relax and shake it out. Second, relax your shoulders and keep them away from your ears. That sounds a bit crazy but when you start to get tired your shoulders will rise up putting tension in your neck and upper back. Third, take deep breaths in and out as you run; particularly in with your nose and out with your mouth. This allows the air to be filtered and controlled while you run. Last, make sure your hips are square and you are not leaning to the side, back or too forward. Your knees should come up and below your hip line and again stay relaxed through your breathing. If you are leaning to the side and your hips are not square, the first thing to go is your lower back and trust me, you don't want that. The breathing will keep the oxygen flow consistent and your body relaxed as you run.
If you check out the picture to your right, the runner on the right has the ideal form. Her shoulders are relaxed, chest is up while her head and chin are naturally upright. She is running incredibly fast but has maintained her posture to win this race. The young lady on the side of her has broken her form but having her head down and cocked to the side. Her shoulder that we can barely see is higher then the shoulder we CAN see because of her head. I already know that she will not win this race. The difference is slight between the two but it's there and it will effect their race.