Running Technique – Body Position For Optimum Performance

Running Technique-Body-Position-For Optimum-Performance

When it comes to runners who clock miles and miles every week on a regular basis attention and care needs to be directed to how they run  so they don’t get put off training for stress fractures, ankle sprains, knee injuries, shin splints, Achilles problems, back pain, or anything else we runners face. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but the more you look at how you run the less injuries and time of training you will have to ensure.

I have the habit of giving you a lot, a lot of information, and very detailed. I do this because I hope you will take 20% of what you read. Sometimes even that 20% is better than nothing.

That being said let’s talk about how you position your body to enable you to glide over the terrain, rather than stomping. And we begin with…:

A. ALIGN

This is a good exercise to practice before you go for a run. It’s connects you to your own body. With practice you will gradually bring it into your run.

A good alignment means you are “stacking” the body in the correct position, and, if you manage to maintain that your run will feel amazing. Trust me, it will. When it clicks, it clicks.

The pressure on your joints will be at angles that don’t cause so much damage. Of course, it’s impossible to keep your body stiff in one position, but try as often as you remember to align and re-align. Also, remember, good alignment means a relaxed body, if you tense up you can do more harm. So relax and go through the exercise below.

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart
  2. Toes pointing forward
  3. Distribute your weight evenly on the left and right foot
  4. Distribute your weight evenly on the front (ball of food) and back (heel) of each foot left – keep the left/right weight distribution while doing so
  5. Soften your knees; don’t bend them too much, just lock them and then relax, you are not doing a squat
  6. Lightly tuck in your tailbone (this will also allow the knees to soften) so that, if your pelvis was a bucket of water, you wouldn’t spill water in any direction; your abdominal muscles should tense slightly and your lumbar spine should flatten slightly. These are signs you are probably in a good position. It should feel comfortable
  7. Your hip should be in line with the back of your knee cap, and in line with your ankles, roughtly
  8. Relax your shoulders and align them with your hips which is aligned with your ankles
  9. Chin parallel to the ground
  10. Head slightly pushed back until you feel the back of your neck lengthening, releasing tension and the natural curve flattening slightly
  11. Ears aligned with the shoulders

You can maintain this alignment at any angle. If you lean your body from your ankles everything is still aligned. If you lie on the floor your body is still in the same alignment. But if you stick your bum out, pull your head back or turn your toes out that’s when, in time, things start to go wrong and injuries begin to show up.

 

 

B. ELONGATE

This is a simple imagination exercise, or visualization if you wish.

Holding the body in alignment as above, imagine a piece of string tied to the crown of your head and to the ceiling, a branch or the sky above you.

Imagine how this piece of string elongates your body towards the sky. Keeping its shape and alignment though

You can begin to elongate the ankles, the shins, up into the knees, through the thighs, to the hips.

Then elongate your trunk and ribs. You shouldn’t lean back, push your chest out, pull your shoulder blades together or do anything else. Just imagine. There’s no point lengthening the front of your body while tension and shortening the back by pulling your shoulders back.

Then relax your shoulders, keep the alignment, elongate your neck and head – take care not to tilt your head back here.

Then imagine the piece of string and your vertebrae like beads on a string. Allow each vertebra to pop up, away from the one below it, and then lightly stack up on top of each other. Go from the tailbone/coccyx all the way to the neck/cervical spine and up through the crown of your head towards the sky.

You can practice this as a stand alone meditation. It will help improve your posture as well as slowly making its way into your running posture and to a better performance.

 

C. LEAN

After you practice a good alignment while standing and in movement and elongate the body, the next step is to practice a slight lean. The lean should be from the ankles, as described in the POSE Method of Running, and, on a flat ground it’s a matter of millimeters.

Remember, the key is: lean should be from the ankles, not bending from the hips. You can work this out in front of a mirror.

One of the greatest mistakes I see is bending from the hips. This is very very common, so take care, especially when you run uphill. You can easily end up with low back pain and not even make it up that hill.

Some argue the lean is not the way to go. I argue it is for at least 3 reasons:

  1. For your feet to land under the hip, in alignment with the rest of the body, the hip should be slightly ahead…..which is achieved through that slight lean.
  2. Pushing off and active landing are actually very very strenous. When you land under the body, and you do this by leaning from the ankles, you can pick up the feet and control the landing.
  3. Free energy! That’s gravity. It’s so much easier to “fall” forward than to push your body forward over and over again. Let gravity take over! It saves a lot of energy and you end up running faster, as you pick up you feet faster, as a result of landing under the body and not ahead, as a result of that slight lean.

I found this exercise in Chi Running by Danny Dreyer, which is really easy to practice.

  1. Stand in front of a table, about hip height, about 2 feet away (you will adjust after)
  2. Align your body, like a column
  3. Elongate your body
  4. Lightly tens your abdominal muscles
  5. Now lean from the ankles until you can rest your hip, or pelvis, on the side of the table
  6. Keep the column straight though, even at an angle
  7. Hold the position

You will notice how much your abdominal muscles contribute to this position, as it should when you run. This lean is a lot more than what you normally need, but if you exaggerate the lean when you practice you will do it just right when you’re out there running.

Here is a video talking about the lean as well.

That’s it for today. I wanted to write a short article but it ended up a pretty long one. Just take one exercise at a time. Print this page if you wish and practice each exercise for 1 week. You will transform your running.

Need help? I have a few ways to help you with this. One is a 4 weeks course where you go through ALL the running elements. This course can also be done in 2 weeks. Or, if you aren’t close by, I do have a series of coaching videos you can learn from, a running academy. Another option is online coaching. So there are solutions. Thus give a shout if you need help with this. If not, I’m looking forward to hearing how you implemented these exercises and how they worked out for you.

Pick Up Your Feet And Run Faster

Have you ever thought about what your feet and legs are doing when you run or even walk? Do you lift your feet off the ground, bending your legs at the knee or do you just drag them just above the ground, shuffling, one after the other?

If you have noticed your running form then you have already changed the way you run. If you haven’t now it’s the time to do so.

Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation, but in summary the reasons you should pick up your feet instead of dragging or shuffling:

Reason #1: You will run faster

Your legs are like pendulums. And like any pendulum, a long pendulum will move slower, a shorter one will move faster.

 

Reason #2: You will run more relaxed, lighter on your feet

If you pick your feet without lifting and leading with the knees you will not use the quads as much, thus you run more relaxed and with less effort. The work is done by your hamstrings and only at the start of the lift, after that your hamstrings should relax.

 

Reason #3: Reduce the risk of injuries

First of all if you drag your feet chances are you will trip or slip at some point. Pick up your feet and you reduce those chances, a lot.

Second if you drag your feet chances are you are landing in ahead of your body (instead of underneath), actively landing (driving your feet forward), heel striking and landing with a stiff leg or ankle. All this, in time, may lead to shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and then knee pain and back pain. It’s a chain reaction in fact.

So stop shuffling your legs, dragging them behind you and pick them up and bend your knee.

Remember running is a skill of movement, and art. As with anything you want to create, it will be difficult and uncomfortable at the beginning but once you get the hang of it you won’t run anymore, you will glide.

Check out the video below with this particular technical element and also this article Running Technique – Elements Of Effortless Running – Lower Body:

Running With Lower Back Pain – Testimonial Client Experience

Running With Lower Back Pain - Testimonial Client Experience

Richard experienced sore back after running. We knew it was a non-specific lower back pain (i.e. not caused my disc problems, accidents etc) so we could work together.

Over the 12 months we’ve worked once a week to develop strength, flexibility and mobility through natural movement. We also corrected his running form to make it less destructive on his joints and body as a whole.

There were many many changes in his running form over the past 12 months which lead to NO MORE BACK PAIN!! during or after running.

But it’s not over. Next steps: fine tune technique, optimise performance and address other subtle imbalances, tension and restrictions in the body.

Well done Richard!

This is what we look at on the Running Technique Workshop. Of course, changing the way you move and use your body takes time, but on the workshop you will leave with a few concepts that, if used, can make a huge difference.

While same results cannot be guaranteed, with practice, natural running technique will help you run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries.

Book your spot for the next workshop in East London, Canada Water.

Run Lighter And Reduce Running Injuries – Running Workshops

Do you want to run lighter and reduce the risk of running related injuries?

Whether you are into parkruns, marathons, short distance running, trail running, road running, obstacle course races the way you run will impact your body instantly.

Shin splints, knee pain, lower back pain, shoulder and upper body pain they are all related to your running form, to how you use your body.

Thus join our running technique workshops in London and train like an athlete.

Watch the video to understand what you will do and learn on the day.

Also please share around. Looking to pass down this knowledge to as many runners as possible.

EARLY BIRD TICKETS are available for the January and February workshops.

 

Running Technique – Running And Lower Back Pain

running-technique-running-lower-back-pain

Lower back pain is very common and many cases are due to poor use of the body (i.e. poor alignment, posture, weak key muscles).

If you are running with lower back pain you should consider finding the source of your pain before you continue. While there are many reasons your lower back pain may hurt, such as weak core muscles or gluteal muscles, there can also be reasons related to your running technique, the mechanics side of running.

In the video I mention 3 aspects of the running technique that may contribute to your lower back pain.

1. THE HEAD

The head should not be tilts forwards or backwards. Instead is should be aligned with the shoulders, hips and front of ankles.

2. THE SHOULDERS

Shoulders should not go out of alignment with the ears and hips. Crossing the arms in front of your body will pull your shoulders forward, closing up your body, and causing your body to lose posture and good form.

3. THE HIP

a. The Bucket of Water

Imagine your hip joint like a bucket of water. In its strongest, stable and aligned position it is slightly tilted forward. However, the tendency is to tilt the hips too much forward (spilling water forward out of the bucket) or tilt backwards (spilling water backwards).

Keep the hip join in a position where you don’t spill water, neither forward, or backwards.

b. Heel strike

Heel striking when running is the perfect way to tilt the hips forward and throw them out of alignment. This put a lot of pressure on your lower back and makes the whole chain become unstable and weak.

 

Watch the video below and if you wish to attend our dedicated running workshops email support@themtechnique.com

Factors Leading To Running Injuries – Change

Does running regularly mean you will end up having to pay physios for life? No, not necessarily. Although, like with virtually any sport, even swimming if you swim often and aim high, you will suffer some injuries. How bad, how often and for how long, now these are variables that can be changed.

Change is one of the causes of sport related injuries. And when we talk about running injuries we refer to:

– foot injuries – including plantar fasciitis
– ankle injuries
– shin splints
– knee injuries
– hip injuries
– lower back pain

These are very common injuries and pains in runners who run regularly and push themselves to make progress.

Change is one of the elements that can cause there types of running injuries. Change in terms of:

– speed
– distance
– running frequency, but also
– different shoes (watch out minimalist/barefoot runners when transitioning to minimalist shoes), and different technique
– training type – i.e. from endurance training to interval training

No matter how much you try to progress fast, you are directed by your NERVOUS SYSTM. Until the nervous system adapts to the change, any attempt to push beyond it’s adaptation time frame can lead to injuries.

Thus, my advice on any changes you wish to make:
– make change slow
– have patience
– make the correct changes
– make the changes correct
– get a coach to direct you so you do things the right way, especially if you are a beginner

Need coaching? Email support@themtechnique.com or click here to book a free consultation.

Want to know when the next running technique workshop takes place? Leave your details below and you will receive the updates.

Lower Back Pain – Exercise To Reduce Tension And Stiffness In Your Lower Back

A lot of people suffer from low back pain. And there are many reasons we suffer from back pain. These group into specific and non-specific low back pain.

Specific means we know the exact cause of your back pain (i.e. slipped disc, accident etc). This needs medical attention.

Non-Specific back pain, we can’t exactly point out the reason, it might be from  lot of sitting down, poor posture, weak muscles (core, buttocks), tight muscles and so on.

Most of the people suffer from non-specific lower back pain, about 19/20 cases. And the reason behind it is usually a combination of all of the above, they are related anyway:

Sitting down too much -> (leads to) Weaker muscles -> Poor posture

Poor posture -> Weak muscles

Sitting with a poor posture -> Weak and tight muscles

You got the idea.

 

Today I will share with you a video with stretches to release tension in the lower back area, as well as surrounding muscles, in the case of non-specific lower back pain.

This is also a great stretch for the fascia (a thin membrane which connects everything in the body, I will write about it with another occasion). It’s also great to improve flexibility and mobility around the lower back and not only.

This is a video from the MTI Academy. Check it out here and here.

Remember, you can always book a free, no obligation consultation with me here to talk about the online academy of any questions you may have, or help you may need.

Find more lower back pain articles here.

Shoulder, Neck And Back Pain – Why You Are In Pain

Shoulder-Neck-And-Bacak-Pain-Why-You-Are-In-Pain

This is probably one of the most common reasons we experience shoulder, neck or back muscle pain.

Your body always tries to bring itself back into alignment. When you look at your phone, walking down the street typing, hunching over your computer, or simply walking or running bending from the hips, you back muscles will activate, or engage to pull the body back into alignment.

If the body doesn’t come back into alignment, those muscles stay activated and, in time, this is what leads to muscle strain.

Watch the video below , leave comments, ask questions, share with everyone and if you need my advice book a free, no obligation consultation.

How To Activate Or Engage Your Core Muscles

How to activate or engage your core muscles.

Your core, the core of your body, the trunk, is formed of the abdominal muscles, sides of the abdomen, back, pelvis and diaphragm.

Understanding how to activate, or rather control, the core of your body is one of the most important steps in your development. THIS is the foundation of your body.

Why? Because movement comes from your core, thus controlling the core means you will have better control over your body.

It will be easier to think about tensing the abdominal muscles when you think about activating your core, it’s easier to visualise, feel and control. After a while you will be able to control other muscles of your core.

Once you manage to connect with your core and focusing on building strength in that area you will experience:

1. Power.

Core strength is the foundation for powerful, explosive movements such as jumping, sprinting, or throwing.

 

2. Back health.

It is estimated that four out of every five adults (80%) will experience back pain at some stage in their life.  Many of the back pain cases are mechanical, meaning they change with posture and level of activity. A strong core is essential to a healthy back that will carry your body throughout your life with little or no pain.

 

3. Balance

If you ever find yourself in a situation when your balance or stability is compromise a strong core will come to the rescue.

 

4. Reduce risk of injuries

Back pain, compromised stability, lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching, are all movements we do throughout our lives. A strong core will give you better chances of less injuries and living with less pain.

 

There is no doubt that having a strong core will enable you to build the lasting foundations required for a fit, healthy, strong and powerful body, but how do we work with it? How do we actively, or intentionally engage our core and jut wait for it to happen?

There are a few ways one can explain what “engaging your core” or “activate your core” means and how to achieve it.

 

  1. Breathing

Learning how to breathe, pulling your stomach muscles in is the first step towards learning how to activate your core muscles. As you breathe out your abdominal muscles pull in and the whole core activates, or tenses.

Do you have the Breathing Mastery chapter I share for free? If you don’t, click here to download it. It will explain everything in detail.

 

  1. Punching

Not really punching, but imagining someone is trying to punch you in the stomach. What would you do? How would you react if you had to “receive” the punch?

You’d brace for the punch, trying to withstand the blow. You’d also notice when you brace for the punch you breath our slightly.

 

  1. Sucking the stomach in

Sucking the stomach in is another way to describe the core activation process. However I am personally not happy with this description.

When you suck your stomach in you don’t necessarily tense your abdominal muscles, maybe just a little, but not enough.

Thus this is one way to do it, but not a way I’d do it.

 

  1. Lying on the ground

Lie on the ground – preferably a hard, straight surface – face up, with your knee bent and feet flat on the ground.

Notice the natural curve in your lower back.

Now try to flatten your low back, touching the ground with that portion of your spine. You will notice that to do that you need to tense your abdominal muscles.

 

Four ways to activate or engage your core muscles. Every time you workout, lift your kids, your bag, carry groceries, remember to activate your core muscles.

Contact me for a free consultation. 

Why Your Low Back Pain Keeps Coming Back

Many people approach me saying they experience low back pain, they have therapies and treatments but the pain is still coming back. There is a reason that happens and I will explain in here.

Firstly, you must ensure your low back pain is not cause by specific conditions such as a result of an accident, a problem with discs or any specific reason. Your doctor or GP will say it’s “non-specific low back pain”.

This means it’s mechanical pain, which can be caused by poor posture, lack of physical movement, flexibility and mobility (in other areas of the body not only around your lumbar region), sitting for long hours and particularly in a bad position, and in general placing a lot of pressure on your body which ends up being too much and causes pain. You’ve got the idea.

If it’s mechanical lower back pain then this article is relevant to you.

 

Here are a few reasons your lower back pain keeps coming back:

1. You fail to practice the movements your physio gives you. I don’t blame you, they are boring, but hey they work.

2. You do what you therapist recommends but:

A) you are not consistent – so you lose the benefits you initially gained

B) there is no progression – your body gets used to the exercises and does not respond to them anymore

3. The source of the pain has not been identified. Your pain can come from the position of your feet. It can come from how you sit and stand daily (your physio doesn’t know what you do when you are not there and they don’t have time to check on you and repeat 100 times the same advice). Your pain can come from certain tight or shortened muscles in the body. And it can be from how you walk, run, squat, lift and so on so forth. Your therapist cannot see all these elements.

4. The source of the pain has been identified but you are not aware of it or don’t fully understand it. If you,, the patient, do not understand where this pain comes from you will fail to comply with what your therapist advises you to do. This is how the mind works. We need to understand why we do the things we do, that will motivate us to do them and be consistent.

5. You stop moving because of pain. I don’t blame you. When you are in pain you don’t feel like doing anything. However, if it’s non-specific low back pain, not moving can make it worse. Movement is essential to reduce pain in the body. Sounds counter intuitive but it’s true.

 

Your therapist knows what they are doing, they are qualified. But they are not coaches. They simply do not have the time to keep you accountable, to work with you long term. This is a coach’s job. To ensure continuous support for your recovery

 

The Merisoiu Technique has been designed to help people like you reduce pain in the body and reduce the risk of it coming back. We strive to get your body fully functional and unleash your true physical potential.

We use movement patters we have evolved to perform (Natural Human Movement) and Martial Arts elements (similar to Tai Chi or Chi Gong) to enable you to solve your problems.

Furthermore, we keep in touch with you through calls, emails, texts, online programmes, in between the sessions to ensure you are consistent with the habits and get the results.

Moreover The Merisoiu Technique is designed to bring movement in your daily life. It’s a lifestyle not a fitness regimen.

The Merisoiu Technique is much more profound than fitness. It’s a true way of living life.

 

Do you suffer with low back pain?

Do you spend loads of money on therapies?

Does it keep coming back?

It’s time to stop, and break the vicious circle.

Book a FREE Consultation