5 Most Popular Misconceptions in Running
Runners, and sometimes coaches, watch other runners and misinterpret components of their running as important when in fact they are consequential and emphasizing them in your training will only inhibit your progress. Here are 5 most popular misconceptions in running. Take note of these components and let them be.
1. Stride Length
Increasing or minimizing stride length is artificial and will be a wasted effort. The length of your stride is a result of your angle of falling when you run. When you change the angle, your stride length changes in response to that. So let it be and focus on improving your fall angle.
2. Active Push Off
When runner’s trailing leg goes through the final stage of the running cycle it might look like it has a straight knee and its foot position might look like it just completed a push off. The reality is that full extension of any part – hip, knee, ankle – is the slowest moment in movement, nature’s safeguard to help prevent immediate injury. If you want to move faster, full extension should be avoided. The desire to attempt to push happens as a result of wanting to help yourself move faster but you get the opposite. You get bouncing movement up and down which is in a different direction from moving forward. Try moving forward by fully extending your leg and pushing off and then try moving forward by removing your foot off support by pulling it up. Which one is easier and faster?
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3. Knee Drive
When we see the knee come up, we see the final point in trajectory of the knee that started elsewhere and way ago. To focus on bringing up the knees high and hope to run fast is like bringing up the cup of coffee to your mouth and hope it’ll taste good – the coffee was already made and poured into a cup. You’re not making coffee you are drinking it. The only way you will enjoy this cup of coffee is if you had done due diligence when making it.
4. Active Landing
Similarly to active push off, active landing has a few things tied into it. Active landing is closely connected to misunderstanding of GRF (Ground Reaction Force). The harder you hit the ground, they say, the more it gives you back in speed and power. The only thing that comes to mind here is a popular commercial. That’s not how this works. What most people never stop to think about is this – landing is as instinctual as it gets. It will happen no matter what. You can’t make it happen faster than gravity will allow it. You can attempt to make it slower – but what would be the point. Landing will occur at its own correct speed. Pushing your feet down ruins your timing and your rhythm when running. It also opens the door to injuries like shin splints and runner’s knee.
5. Arm Pumping
An often recommended move to vigorously pump arms when running and especially sprinting is actually detrimental to increase in speed. When arms are moved in such fashion, two things happen – unnecessary expenditure of energy and interference with smooth movement forward. Arms are for balance and their movement can be indeed improved, but not by ‘vigorously pumping’ and keep in mind that nothing will matter as much as perfecting the running pose itself so before worrying about arms, let’s get the running pose and change of support right.
Understanding and improving running training is part of the Pose Method Certification Course. Designed for health and fitness professionals, it is also a great starting point for anyone looking to become a coach. This seminar offers 16 CE hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists.