Analyzing Your Lower-Body
It is that time of the year my friends, running season! Now that it’s getting somewhat cooler and the sun is setting earlier, more runners are hitting the asphalt and training for the plethora of fall races from 5ks to 10ks to full marathons and ultras..
Don’t get left behind, because of poor running performance. A rule of thumb when running is posture, staying balanced, and looking straightforward at all times. There’s more to what I call the “build up,” such as increasing stamina and improving performance. Cool running explains it’s key to understand your physique, in particular your lower half.
When you run in a straight line, your successive foot placements should be parallel to each other. This will reduce the rotation or twisting of the ankles and knees and will help prevent shortening of your stride due to turning out of the foot.
Because the hip, knee, and ankle joints all must bear the severe stresses and impact of running, you should always try to concentrate on preventing any twisting or sideways motion and keep the feet and legs moving directly forward.
Improved ankle flexibility has a major payoff in stride length. African runners seem to have the best ankle flexibility, perhaps because they grew up running barefoot as children. Their style shows the knee of the supporting leg well in front of the ankle, which gives the foot a greater range of motion throughout the push off phase of running.
The longer the heel is left in contact with the ground while the knee moves forward, the greater the pre-stretch of the calf muscles, increasing both power and stride length.
Use appropriate knee lift.
Sprinting requires high knee lift; marathon running does not. Distance runners should avoid dramatic knee lift, because energy that should be directed to forward movement is wasted on up-and-down motion. Find a comfortable and appropriate degree of knee lift.
Stretch and strengthen the major muscle groups.
The pelvis accommodates large muscles, which generate the powerful forward thrust of the push off foot as well as the thrust of the forward-striding leg. The muscles that stabilize the hip against too much rotation must be especially strong to prevent injury.
Lack of hip-joint mobility limits stride length and often results in a forward lean of the torso. By increasing your hip flexibility, you can run with a more vertical and energy-efficient style.
Jason Yu is Partner and Director of Marketing for The Hardwicke Group in Richmond, VA. His company specializes in new media, PR and influence with an emphasis on digital marketing strategy and reputation management. Jason enjoys keeping active by biking, running and working out on a daily basis. Jason has ran in over twenty running races including the Marine Corps Marathon, Tough Mudder, Richmond Marathon, and Xterra races. Interesting facts about Jason is that he is a music fanatic, in search fro the best macaroni and cheese, and aspiring “mixologist.”
For every good workout song there has to be a good cool down song.July 28, 2015
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