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CrossFit: Increase WOD Running Speed in One Day

For all their variety, an overwhelming majority of CrossFit WODs have one constant – running.

That’s a lot of running in a community that says it hates running! Ok, ‘hates’ maybe too strong of a word here, but I’m sure you’ve heard your friends and others say that at least once before.

The result of this disparaging view of running is obvious. Instead of flaunting PRs and raising benchmarks, members woefully accept defeat and resign to injuries and mediocre times, whereas they fight tooth and nail for a successful snatch.

What would you do if I told you that you indeed could run faster and better than you think? At our workshops we can actually calculate and tell you just how much faster you could be running! You don’t have to go far to see the potential, just look at Karly Wilson of CrossFit Undeniable that finished a marathon first in her age group. A couple of month before the race Wilson and CrossFit Undeniable hosted CrossFit Preferred Course. Addressing her running technique was the final ingredient that made the difference. It’s not about running a marathon, of course, but you could if you felt so inclined.

The truth about running

Running is an integral part of virtually every sport. Basketball, baseball, football, rugby, CrossFit… and the list can go on and on. Hey, running is often involved when you’re just trying to make it to your training session and not be late. Running is everywhere and this is precisely why it is so misunderstood and underappreciated.

Statistics are very revealing of the scale of this issue – 2 out of 3 people who run get injured. That is more than all other sports combined. How crazy is that?

You know what else is crazy? The fact that most people don’t realize how simple it is to improve their running. They key is to do less and be precise in movement. Stop the madness with pumping arms, raising knees, rolling from heel to toe, butt kicking and so on. To run is to change support from running pose to running pose.

When your running technique is optimized, running feels better and becomes easier. And here’s the cherry on top – better technique prevents early muscle function deterioration, so you can run, press, run, squat, run or whatever and not fall apart. Or run a marathon and find yourself on a podium (ok podium might be a stretch but still).

‘How to’ does not require love

So, how could you run faster than you do now? You need to improve your running technique. You don’t need to love running to be a good runner, to run faster than you do now, or better yet, to avoid injuries. You just need to know HOW to run. The ‘how to’ in anything does not require any emotion. It requires technique.

You’re probably thinking right now – don’t we already know how to run? That’s a negative, trooper. Just because you can get up and put one foot in front of the other, it does not mean you know how to run. You can manage, yes, but is that how you squat, press or lift? So what gives? And I don’t want to hear anything about humans being born to run. When was the last time you chased your next meal? The fact is – our modern lifestyle had dramatically altered all that.

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change

The solution to the predicament we are in is simple. If we look at the act of running as a skill based movement, than running will no longer be the thing we hate or the thing that hurts us. It will be just like any other movement. To get it right all you’d need is to use the correct technique and then you could do it faster, and also more of it. Now that sounds like just another day at the box, nothing more and nothing less.

Lucky for everyone, there are hundreds of affiliates worldwide that had already figured this out and have Certified Running Technique Specialists on staff and are implementing running drills into their workouts. Some even started RPM Run Clubs. All you need to do is ask your Head Coach about running drills and classes.

Bring it to the finish line

Most members do not realize that they are already more than halfway there. Doing running technique drills is the only thing keeping them from running better and faster. What about the rest you may ask. But what else is there? Speed and endurance are byproducts of running technique.

Technique is the gateway to peak performance. If you’re injured, your excellent physiology means absolutely nothing. The world is full of runners with mind-blowing VO2Max sitting on the couch with a knee or hip injury. Technique work and strength training are the remedy and it is yours for the taking.

Funny enough, anyone doing regular CrossFit workouts is already way ahead of most local runners due to their strength conditioning. So realistically, an average CrossFit member needs a lot less preparation and can significantly improve their running and speed within one training session. How awesome is that?

Let me help you run faster and better. Contact us to host our Running Clinic.

About the Author

Dr. Bruce Tan is a Level 1 Seminar Instructor for Pose Method® Continued Education Seminars. He is also a Pose Method Certified Running Technique Specialist and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. As a former military, Bruce has a special appreciation of integrating skill development into the weekly training regimen in order to support general health and promote higher standard of performance.

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

 

Training: How to Increase Running Speed in One Simple Step

Whether you can maintain your newfound speed for the required distance, say 40 yards or 100 meters, is a matter of training and your skill level. Whether you can run faster than Usain Bolt is a matter of your physical stats and genetic potential (p.189) in addition to training and skill level.

One thing is for sure, however, whatever your current running speed is, you can run faster immediately by simply changing just one thing. Nothing else will give you the same result.

Traditionally recommended things for increasing of speed in reality prevent you from running faster. The higher you attempt to raise your knees, the harder your attempt to pump your arms or hit the ground, the more you attempt to push off and toe off – the slower you make yourself. All of those things require extra effort and throw you off balance, so you end up exerting more effort without any increase in speed. You, most likely, have experienced that and know how frustrating it can be.

What you really want to do is:

  1. stay relaxed yet focused,
  2. apply minimal effort and
  3. use natural forces to your advantage.

That’s natural running at its best.

Now, the question is: how do you use natural forces to run? To say ‘stay relaxed yet focused’ is to describe how you should feel not what you should do. So how do you instruct someone what to do in order to tell them how to run? That is what the Pose Method® of Running is all about. If you’re not familiar with it – go ahead and follow that link, it will make the following paragraphs clearer.

How to Increase Your Running Speed

Commonly given advice is more of an advice for a training session or on running form. You’re told to “warm up, stay upright, land on forefoot, focus on posture”, etc. While improving your running form will definitely make you faster and more efficient in general, it still doesn’t answer the main question – how do you actually increase your running speed? What do you do? Especially if you’re already in motion? Knowing how to do that will make all the difference during a race or the game.

Running faster is about your skill, not strength or power. A certain level of strength is absolutely necessary  in order to withstand such a physically demanding activity as running, but your muscles do not produce your speed. Muscles serve a different purpose.

To run faster you need to master just one thing – angle of falling. It’s your ‘gas pedal’. Fall forward more – run faster. Fall forward less – run slower. Within the Pose Method framework, that is all that needs to happen in order to unleash your speed. Your speed is under your command when you learn to operate with the angle of falling.

By-products of Increased Speed

When you increase your speed several things happen as a result. The important part here is to understand where your efforts should be applied.

  • Stride Frequency will have to be increased. To maintain speed and to prevent tumbling over you’ll have to change your support faster. This is one of the reasons that strength training is so important for runners. In sprinting it is the intensity of speed, in long distance it is the extent of miles to be continuously covered that necessitates the ability to pull and keep on pulling your foot up in order to keep changing support in order to keep moving. A good thing here is that stride frequency of 180 and above activates a natural muscle-tendon elasticity mechanism

    Keep in mind, that you can easily increase the frequency of change of support and still stay in one place. You won’t move forward until you introduce a degree of falling forward to your movements.

  • Magnitude of Pulling your foot from support and under your hips increases and do so by itself, i.e. no effort on your part is required. Due to increase in angle of falling and stride frequency, your foot will come up higher than normal, right under your buttocks. The key is to understand that you won’t need to do it, the inertia and other forces interacting will do it for you. In fact, the trajectory of your entire leg will map itself out.

Recommended Reading:

  • Gravity’s role in accelerated running – a comparison of an experienced Pose® and heel-toe runner. (International Society Of Sports Biomechanics, XXV11, 374-377, 2009)
  • Geometry of Running. (European College Of Sport Science, July 5-8, 2006 Switzerland)
  • Runners Do Not Push Off the Ground But Fall Forwards Via a Gravitational Torque. (Sports Biomechanics Journal, 2007)
  • Романов, Н. С. Роль силы тяжести в ускорении тела бегуна вперед / Н. С. Романов, А. И. Пьянзин, Е. В. Никитина, В. И. Васильев / Актуальные вопросы физической культуры и спорта: материалы Всероссийской научно-практической конференции. – Новочебоксарск: НФ РГУФКСМиТ, 2012. – С. 75–80 (0,31/0,08 п.л.).
  • The Independent Effects of Gravity and Inertia on Running Mechanics. The Journal of Experimental Biology 203, 229–238 (2000)
  • Muscle Activity in Running. The Extensor Paradox Experiment. Biomechanics of Distance Running. Human Kinetics Books, 1990
  • Bartlett, R., Romanov, N., Fletcher, G. A Case Study of Two National Standard Sprinters Completing a Pose and Traditional Sprint Start Technique. Journal of Athletic Enhancement, Vol 3; 2014 doi:10.4172/2324-9080.1000145

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Training: Improve balance to increase speed

In general, better balance translates into a more coordinated effort and higher precision of movement regardless of sport, so working on balance should be an important part of any good training regimen for any athlete. But how does our balance affect our speed? The answer is – indirectly, but rather significantly and it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

Centuries ago a visionary extraordinaire Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) wrote the following about motion, balance, and foot contact: “The legs, or centre of support, in men and animals, will approach nearer to the centre of gravity, in proportion to the slowness of their motion; and, on the contrary, when the motion is quicker, they will be farther removed from that perpendicular line.”¹

From the Pose Method® point of view, speed is determined by the degree of falling but in order to even start falling you have to be in the position of balance first. As you can see, balance is an essential part of movement. In order for movement to happen there has to be balance first and then it has to be destroyed, then you find balance again and to go anywhere from that point, that newly found balance has to be destroyed again… and voila! you’re moving.

Take a look at this video to help you connect the dots. Gravity – balance – movement – everything is connected. Improve your understanding of this topic, improve your basic skills and you will progress further and faster.

Balance

It is not sport specific. Balance is balance. There is, however, static balance and there is dynamic balance. In sports the dynamic balance is more obvious visually and mentally since this is what we see when the athlete is in motion. Only a fraction of a second is given for the static balance to happen, but it happens nonetheless. It has to occur in order for movement to take place and to continue. And because of such a limited time frame of its occurrence, it becomes much more important to get a better handle on static balance.

The dynamic balance is no less significant and is actually more difficult to perfect, but by working on developing your dynamic balance skill you will strengthen what is commonly the weak link. And we all know the old adage – the system is only as strong as its weakest link. The dynamic balance is interwoven with movement. If you only have a fraction of a moment to execute that chain of events, you better believe that you won’t be able to think about it, focus on it too much, etc… It will just have to happen as part of motion. So the better your balance skill is, the better your movement will be.

Within the Pose Method® framework, improved balance serves as a foundation for a better fall, which in its turn serves to produce better forward movement. Your ability to quickly and smoothly transition between the state of balance and the fall, will help you improve your speed.

Practice Balance

While there are many exercises that can be done to improve balance, here’s the basic drill that you should start with that relates specifically to running technique. And to increase the level of difficulty – do it with your eyes closed. (You have to be a subscriber to view these videos)

Here are another couple of good drills that seems simple and easy but reveal the weak spots.


4-Week Speed Training Program

To help you train and improve your speed, we put together a complete Speed Development Video program that will help you get faster in no time. Take a look at Day 1 training session.

You’re invited to try this entire program free for 7 days and see the results. Click here to sign up.

 

References: 

¹A Treatise on Painting, by Leonardo Da Vinci, Chap. LXVIII.—Of the Centre of Gravity in Men and Animals.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.