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How to run further and faster.

Lisa Tamati

Posted on June 10 2018

How to run further and faster.
As runners we probably all picture being like Usain Bolt, perhaps Mo Farah or maybe Paula Radcliffe, we all want to get faster and many want to be able to run longer.

We all, however, have genetic limitations that will limit where we get to so we won't all be like those super athletes but the goal is to optimise your own ability and to do what you can to have a structured approach to building up your speed and distance.

Today we're going to talk about how to run further and faster and specifically I'm going to give you a little workout to train your mechanics and in the next session we will talk about your improving your actual physiology and your ability to endure more intense training, higher levels of speed and more cardio stress.

If we want to run further and faster we need to talk about running efficiently from a mechanical perspective, and there's two different parts to doing that .

Mechanics - We want to make sure that every movement in your body is productive and is moving you forward, and we want to avoid any energy that's wasted or any unnecessary movements up/ down or side to side.

Many runners don't even know what that really means or how they can actually improve their form, add to that we are all different shapes and sizes and some have weaknesses in some areas, or mechanical problems and you can see how hard it is to understand what it is to run efficiently and with good form or technique.

Many runners just put on a pair of shoes one day and ran without giving it much thought, we have run since we were tiny children so how hard can it be right? One foot in front of the other..

But many are running in a way that could so easily and simply be improved with just a few tweaks to style or a little more strength and mobility work to strengthen weak muscles or to improve range of motion. So lets look at a great drill you can do to help your start that journey.

To improve our mechanics we need to undestand about rotation. When we run, the upper body has to resist the rotation of the lower body. That is why we swing our arms opposite to our feet it helps our body keep facing forward and running straight.

When my leg is swinging in behind me, if i am too loose in the core and hips my whole body wants to turn and if we didnt have our arms swinging opposite it would through the force of rotation.

The purpose of my upper body, my arm swing is to resist that rotation, to keep my shoulders square and facing forward.

So notice that instead of going here out the back, when I swing my leg out the back , my upper body is going the other way. So I have contralateral swing, and this swing keeps my upper body and shoulders square. So if I take away your arms by doing what we call "The Stable arm drill" which is when you put your hands out in front of you, hands together like you were pointing a gun and then try and run.

Now the arms are out of equation its very hard to stay stable and we have to engage our core more to stop the swing to the side and automatically tend to take smaller steps. Now the goal with the stable arm drill is not to let the hands bounce up and down or side to side too much. Keep them as still as possible and to do that you need a strong core.

it will feel awkward but it will teach you to step shorter and to control your core area which are two great things. When we have a shorter step we have to increase our cadence which is exactly what we want to be doing as it produces a more efficient technique.

We want you to run like this for 20 to 30 metres then drop the hands and run it out normally and to feel the difference when you have your arms back. Do this drill 10 times in a row.

This drills feels weird for sure and it makes you run very stiffly and your hips are extended and you aren't fully upright and this actually simulates what happens when we tire and get fatigued and our shoulders slump and stiffen up and the arm swing isn't as fluid which leads to more rotation in the body and a much less efficient step.

The second thing with this, when I start to run with my hands together, it's like running with a stick up my butt a little bit. I become very, very stiff, so much so that all hip extension is taken away. When I can't resist this hip extension, what my body does as opposed to going here, right? All of a sudden it goes here really small. And what happens, when we get tired when we run? Well, we start upright, we start to slump. And when we start to slump, we start to stress our shoulders and they stiffen up, and then all of a sudden our arm swing gets stiffer and it starts to go away which leads to more inefficiencies. So make sure keep your shoulders always relaxed and your arms swinging freely from the shoulders and keep your chest up high and forward and your hips extended.

This arm drill and understanding how your arms and shoulders effect your running speed, efficiency and form is a good start in improving your times. Next time we will examine the other part of the equation which is to improve your physiology, your cardio fitness to improve your ability to handle intense speed and intense suffering. Believe me the more you do it the better you will get, you might vomit a few times on the way there but the hard work will lead to more speed and better fitness. So until next time.

If you want to know more about our training systems and philosphies please head over to our Masterclass "How to Revolutionise your Running Training" We will see you there.


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