Over the weekend I participated in a discussion about stride length on the Running Discussion Board on Facebook. Basically it was about a keen runner who wanted to increase his stride.
There was a bit of a mixture of advice if I am honest. Some good, some not so good but it did give me a great idea for a blog post so I think everyone is a winner.
Heel Strike, Forefoot or Mid-Foot?
One of the things this post did spark was the whole debate about which part of your foot should be hitting the ground first. Let me tell you now, it really does not matter. You can land on any part of your foot you want, none of the options make you more or less prone to injury.
So what does make a difference?
Firstly, DO NOT try to artificially lengthen your stride. You will end up like the guy in the photo on the right. Over-reaching and landing on the back of your heel underneath a straight leg. This loads up your joints instead of your muscles and has been proven to be a contributing factor to knee injury, shin splints, hip tendon injuries and lower back pain among runners.
How To Fix Over-striding
Unfortunately this type of gait is very very common. It doesn't have to be permanent though. It can easily be fixed with some perseverance and a couple of simple gait tweaks.
All of the following are visible when you compare the 2 runners from the above photo...
1. Run Tall
Keep your head up, look straight forward and stay relaxed through your shoulders. Being tall will actually help you improve forward momentum.
2. Lift your knees and toes up slightly.
Add in a slightly higher knee lift like the guy on the left. While you are doing this, think about also pulling your toes upwards. This will give you a bit more air time and allow you to land underneath yourself more, making more of a mid-foot ground contact with a flexed knee rather than out in front of you under a straight knee
3. Use your arms
Do this by driving your elbows backwards in a natural running motion. I know this sounds daft but it will help you transfer momentum and core strength into your legs and actually drive you forward.
Give these a go for the next 3-4 weeks when you are out on your runs. You should immediately feel like you have more forward momentum and that you are running lighter and not impacting the ground as heavily
faster running Boot Camp
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS AT 7:15PM
£25 PER MONTH (FIRST SESSION IS FREE)
This is not a turn up, do some running and go home sort of session. Instead, each session on the boot camp is designed to help you develop a fluid and efficient running gait that will make you run faster and help you avoid injury.
It is perfect for beginners who want to make that initial start and for intermediate runners who want to get a bit stronger and improve their running style. Each session is run by a personal trainer and sports injury therapist who is a specialists in running gait training. You will be encouraged to work and develop at your own pace throughout the program so don't worry about competing with anyone else just turn up and let me help you enjoy running without having to worry about those pesky injuries holding you back.
Hit the button below to find out more
Calf injuries are a very common injury among runners and other athletes. In the video below we look at Part 1 in my "Functional Calf Care" series. Here we focus on the Soleus and Posterior Tibialis muscles and their role during the gait cycle, and in particular their role in absorbing impact forces during landing.
Please check out the video below and give the foam rolling and dynamic mobility drills a go to keep your calves healthy and strong for your runs.
Functional running assessment
At Faster Fitness Solutions, one of the specialist areas I cover is injury rehabilitation and running injuries. In these assessments I use a combination bio-mechanical screening drills, treadmill video analysis and hands on assessments to get to the bottom of your pain and help you devise a clear strategy to ensure it goes away and doesn't come back.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch by clicking on the button below and filling out the short form.
So now Christmas and New Year are finally over, the race is on to get in shape, lose weight and get stronger. As a trainer with well over 10 years experience I have found that its not about the dietary or training advice you give someone, its the all about the belief you can instill in someone to take the steps needed to get results.
With this in mind, here are my top 5 tips to help you be successful in dropping weight and finally getting the real results you always wanted.
1. Avoid using the word diet
To me this means that you are looking at a temporary fix that is more than likely not going to last. It puts you in the mindset of denying yourself things you think are making you fat. You start in a negative mindset already, which means you will fail! Instead, think of it as a lifestyle change. I try to get my clients to think about the good stuff they will be adding to their nutrition rather than what they are taking out. Things that will give them more energy and benefit their health.
2. Make small changes
This will ensure your success and avoid you getting overloaded and bored with a program. Start by making sure you eat breakfast or targeting 2L of water every day. Then focus on how much better these changes have made you feel and how much more energy you now have. Once you feel like you have mastered these, move on to some other changes, like adding a source of good, lean protein to every meal to help you balance you blood sugar levels better.
3. Make a habit of being more active
Make a point of moving at least 10 mins per day, this could be going for a walk or playing with your kids. If you are embarking on a gym program, then this needs to be the most important appointment you have every single week. Book your training times in to your diary and make them set in stone. The only reason you cancel a session is because of a family emergency or you have been in an accident and almost died. Get yourself to the gym and quit making excuses!
4. Be accountable to someone other than yourself
This will help with motivation. Get a training buddy or hire a trainer. Basically someone to share your goals with that can support you and help you out when you need it.
5. Don't Beat Yourself Up
This is a big one. You must understand that your journey to better health will not be straight forward, there will be blips and there will be time you fall off the wagon a bit. The best thing you can do is to forget about it. Get yourself back on the horse and continue to work on mastering your mini targets.
14 day kick Start programs
If you would like a little extra help with this, why not send in an application for my 14 Day Kick Start Program. These are aimed at men and women over 30 who want to get the help and support they need to make positive changes to their body and mind.
The Kick Start Programs are an amazingly cost effective way of experiencing exactly what I do here at Faster Fitness Solutions. They are also a great way to help you get yourself motivated and ready to tackle your health and fitness challenges in 2018.
I have been running these programs over in Liverpool with amazing success. Clients have been getting as good if not better results than many of my 1:1 personal training clients. I think the reason is all about the sense of teamwork and support we are able to build with the small group training. Not only will you get all the help and support you need from me as a coach, you will also get 3 training busies that will spur you on and keep you on track.
Hit the button below to find out more and send me over an application.
Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.