EXPERTS UPGRADE COUNTERPOINT

EXPERTS UPGRADE COUNTERPOINT
Published on Sunday, March 15, 2015 by
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Do I need to learn a specific running form?

Chi and Pose running techniques are all the rage, but will they make you a better runner?

YES

say* Danny Drcyer. co-founder of ChiRunning and an accomplished runner who has completed

40 ultramarathons injury-

free in the part 20 years

The idea that you wouldn’t want to exam-ine and potentially improve your running form is strange.

Not juat from the point of view of getting faster but because there’s a tremendous amount of force going through your body with each stride, and injuries among amateur runners are common.

I’ve worked with runners for 30 years and have been teach-ing my own running form since 1999.

In my experience and that of most people I’ve taught.

ChiRunning reduces injury and augments performance by improving efficiency of move-ment. ChiRunning uses a mid-foot strike and encourages a forward lean by using gravity to help pull a runner forward instead of relying solely on propulsion by the lower limbs.

This idea came from tai chi. where you’re taught to move the centre.

When I com-bined this principle with run-ning I found that my legs didn’t have to work as hard.

Most running injuries occur from the knee down because you’re relying on relatively small muscles to propel your whole body. ChiRunning puts most of the workload where the large, stronger muscles are: the core. Doing this eases the smaller muscles’ workload.

Some peopIe may have naturally brilliant biome-chanics, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve the efficiency of their running. Whether you use a specific form such as ChiRunning or you simply try to alter your stride in some way. it’s worth experiment-Ing. And If you find that you’re frequently injured, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different.

MY STYLE USES A MIDFOOT STRIKE AND GRAVITY

NO

says Stephen McGregor, director of the Running Science Lab at Eastern Michigan University and consultant to major running device manufacturers

Is form important for running economy, speed and a lowered injury risk ? That’s a hot area of debate. Our lab, among others, has been inves-tigating this question for years with no clear evidence that any one running style is best for speed and economy.

For most recreational runners, running style is low on the list of items that could help them go faster – a position seemingly justified by a study conducted by USA Triathlon, which showed that when sub-elite triathletes focused on changing their running technique toward a particular style for 12 weeks, their running economy actually got worse.

That said, there can be value in modifying running form. In our laboratory we’re currently working with triathletes who hope to compete in the Rio Olympics in 2016, help-ing them tweak their running form to hopefully make the 1-2% improvement in performance that can be the difference at elite level. We assess changes over time to ensure things are going in the right direction. We’re not recommending fast or wholesale changes that would put them into a form box, but small changes to weaknesses we see from our measurements.

But in most healthy individuals, the improvements that can come from the changes are overstated and, without an individually tailored approach, can even be counter-productive. Most runners just dont need to learn a specific form. For most people, running improvements come from consistent training with rational incremental increases in volume and intensity.

NO ONE STYLE IS BEST FOR SPEED AND ECONOMY

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