Happy Monday everyone!
Hope you all had a great weekend. I was sent this wonderful guest post by SGT Michael Volkin, and I knew there would come a day when it would be not only informative, but also relevant to my fitness situation. Full disclosure, I have not read his book, but I do agree with the information given in his post. Recently, I have been “struggling” with IT and SI issues. The IT issues have subsided thanks to strength training and foam rolling. The SI issues are sticking around a bit longer. Dealing with pain and uncooperative body parts can make any athlete feel like they want a quick fix. I know I want a quick and simple answer to be back on my feet. Who else is with me? Well, there may not be a perfect solution, a pill or a cream…yet…but the following advice is worth the time and effort, even if you’re not rushing off to military style service. Prevention is often easier than a cure.
Most soldiers will tell you running is the hardest portion of the physical fitness sessions in basic training. In basic training, everywhere you go you will be in a hurry. Every other day, your morning physical training sessions will consist of a long run that only gets longer as the 9-weeks pass.
Running seems to be a natural movement to humans, which is why almost nobody bothers to learn how to run effectively. However, by learning and applying a few simple techniques to your running movement, the efficiency of your body movement can increase dramatically.
Before arriving at basic training, start a running program. Don’t just go outside and run as long and hard as you can, you will be wasting energy and time. Start a running “program”, one specifically designed for basic training, much like the one in my book The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook. Always try to run with a partner, it is motivating and easier to keep pace with someone running next to you. Just make sure your partner doesn’t slow you down.
Before you begin any running program, you must learn how to run properly. By practicing the running techniques outlined here, you will greatly improve your efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. You will probably find these techniques change your stride significantly. As a result you will literally have to think about every step you take until it becomes second nature. You are essentially teaching yourself to run, but this time, correctly. As a result of your new efficient smooth running stride, these new techniques could put stress on different muscle groups, which could result in muscle soreness until your body adapts to the new running style.
Quick Fix #1
Run straight in a vertical alignment. Your body should be angled forward to the point where you will almost feel like falling over. Be careful not to stick your buttocks out, it will create improper balance.
Quick Fix #2
Keep your feet on the ground as little as possible. It is common for people to run heel to toe as their foot strikes the ground. Land on the midfoot, or forefoot if possible. When you land on your heels you are placing your body’s center of gravity behind you. This forces your body to push harder with every step and waste energy. You will really have to focus when applying this technique; it is the opposite way “normal” people are used to running.
Quick Fix #3
Don’t bounce when you run. Use your energy to create horizontal and not vertical movement. The less vertical movement you have when running, the more energy you can use to propel your body forward.
Quick Fix #4
Your foot should land under your body when it strikes the ground, not in front of you. By doing this, you will ensure better leverage and balance.
Quick Fix #5
Don’t swing your legs back and forth. Instead, when your foot strikes the ground, pull your heel toward your butt by contracting the hamstring (back of leg). This technique creates a shorter leg arch so your legs will get in position faster for the next step without any wasted energy.
Quick Fix #6
Resist the temptation to push off with your toes. By contracting your hamstring muscles (as described in quick fix #5) you will save energy for those long runs.
SGT Michael Volkin is the author of The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook. The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook is available in both book and e-book format at www.ultimatebasictraining.com