24 Nov Running Efficiency
John Whittaker, Race Director
When we run we tend to get on with it, not very many people have learned to run in the conventional sense of learning. Running seems a very natural and easy thing to do, so what do we need to learn. Watch any runner who has played a team sport: they will, in the main run, with their arms held high and in front of them.. in itself is not particularly harmful but it does tend to make them a bit tense in their shoulders and thus less relaxed and efficient.
It comes from protecting themselves from physical contact, the first thing I ask those folks to do is to relax their arms and shoulders, most respond by saying they feel less inhibited in their run action; a simple small step.
Most of us can improve our technique with small changes, for example listen to the sound your feet make. Is it a loud thump or a gentle tap? Which will give the most efficiency? I would suggest the quieter we are the more efficiently we are using our system. Landing light means we are collecting the energy in our tendons to rebound off more effectively. Occasionally running on our bare feet (short distances) will encourage that light landing and easy take off.
So what stops us? Years of poor practice really; when it comes to changing that practice we are way too impatient. It can never be an instant win, it takes our bodies a fair bit of time to adjust. We are all impatient and it takes discipline to make the change over a sustained period. We also tend to over-compensate and that tends to hurt so we stop doing it.
It takes time to make technique adjustments and it needs a process of change.
Aiming to be light on our feet and quiet is a great start.