Run Better Lesson Series March 2019

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  • #21308

    Mat Hudson
    Keymaster

    Hello Runners!

    In this forum topic I will leave notes for you on each of our live training sessions.

    You may view your 5K Training Plan.

    Below these notes you may leave reports on your progress in training, questions and comments. I will respond to those each week.

    ~ Coach Mat

    #21346

    Mat Hudson
    Keymaster

    First Session – March 5

    Below is an outline of the topics, drills and skills we covered in this first session. You may reference these points to help you plan out which principles and which skills to focus on in your personal training sessions.

    You may read a summary of the Main Principles For Technique Training In Running which I shared today.

     

    My Approach To Teaching You Technique

    I have been a runner for nearly 30 years. For the last 8 years I have studied, and carefully practice ‘natural’ or ‘barefoot’ style running (with shoes) which has greatly improved my experience and performance as a runner. Though perhaps not quite as fast as I was at 20, I am much stronger and can run much farther now, pain free. I have been guided by Chi Running and The Pose Method, which I feel are all emphasizing much of the same core principles, but perhaps approaching those in different ways. I currently find The Pose Method to provide the most attractive tools for teaching these concepts, and am primarily using their skill sequence and terminology to teach you this more natural running technique.

     

    Today’s Activities

    • Short run to make observations about our current running posture and motion.
    • Introduce today’s concepts and skills
    • Drills to build perception, learn different focal points
    • Run Time to practice new focal points

     

    Observations About Your Current Form

    First thing, we worked in the gym. During a series of short loops running around the basketball court, I had you make these observations about your current form:

    • What is your posture doing?
    • What part of the foot touches the ground first? And where, in relation to the torso above?
    • How do you make your body run faster or slow down?
    • Which muscles seem to be working the most?
    • How far do you come off the ground on each stride? Is there a lot of vertical motion?

     

    This Week’s Main Skills

    Body weight is what you can most readily detect when your body is interacting with gravity. You use changes in body weight more than muscle to move forward. The first drills will help you recognize and monitor stable body weight (no falling) and then changes in your body weight (falling), so you can detect the press of gravity, allowing you to channel that into falling forward.

    Learn to perceive body weight through your foot’s contact with the ground, and notice changes of body weight.

    Learn the three main features of the running ‘Pose’:

    • the pose (posture)
    • the fall
    • the pull of the foot

    What I feel makes The Pose Method so effective is that it has broken the action of efficient running down into these three simple actions. To run forward, you don’t need to do anything else but Pose, Lean and Pull. Everything else that happens – the placement of the foot strike, the length of the stride, the height of the heel, even the speed at which you travel – are results of these three actions and adjustments you make to them.

    You use minimal muscular effort to hold your Pose (posture).

    You DO NOT use muscular effort to Fall forward – gravity does that for you.

    You use minimal muscular effort to Pull your foot from the ground. You DO NOT push off the ground, you just pull the heel straight up under your hip.

    So we will explore each of these skills in our drills today.

     

    Today’s Drill Outline

    We went into the basketball gym, and took our shoes off to perform these drills with the sensitivity of feet in direct contact with the ground.

    • Body Weight Perception (standing with good posture)
    • Springness Position
    • The Pose Position
    • Falling From Springness Position
    • Falling From Pose Position

    You may view the focal points for each of these drills on the Run Drill & Focal Points page.

     

    This Week’s Skill Assignment

    You may go into the Run Drills & Focal Points page to review what we covered in the live session.

    Choose 2 or 3 focal points from this week’s drills that seem most beneficial to improving your form.

    During your training runs, keep that short list of focal points in mind. Cycle through them, holding attention on each for 2 to 5 minutes, then switch to the next one.

    Stop periodically, or as needed and perform one of the drills that helps you tune up your perception and control over the particular focal point you are working with at that moment. Don’t be self-conscious about doing drills or doing run/walk intervals – you are safely crafting yourself into a new, efficient runner and I know you are eager to do what it takes.

    ~ Coach Mat

    #21401

    Mat Hudson
    Keymaster

    Second Session – March 12

     

    Today’s Topics

    How Much Running Each Week?

    First, let me offer some guidance on What Is The Minimum Amount Of Run Training?

    How Speed Happens

    You may read a summary of the topic: How Speed Happens In Running.

    In connection to this topic we explored a few flexibility exercises we can do for the hips and ankles. I don’t have articles, photos or videos of these yet, but I am glad to review them with you in our next session together; just ask.

     

     

    This Week’s Main Skills

    • Falling – keeping the body on the falling edge

    Today we examined maintaining posture while falling forward, and becoming more comfortable with a perpetual but controlled sense of falling forward. When we lean back away from that edge we are no longer letting gravity pull us forward and have to make up for it with our own strength (which runs out much more quickly than gravity does!).

    We worked at improving our perception of that moment where the body weight starts to lift off the supporting foot, where the center of mass (COM) shifts forward, just in front of the supporting foot, to initiate the fall forward.

    While holding the head/shoulder/hips as an aligned unit, we used the subtle slide of the hips – just an inch ahead or an inch behind – to initiate an increase or decrease in the amount of lean, which results in a change of speed.

    We each have a current comfortable middle speed, where falling is relatively easy to notice and maintain. But it gets more difficult at the extremes – leaning forward to the edge of our sense of control over falling or leaning back to run at our slowest possible speed while still using the lean as the means of propulsion. We worked on shifting gears from ‘slowest’ to ‘medium’ to ‘faster’ using just the subtle slide of the hips.

     

    Today’s Drill Activities

    • Falling from Springness Position
    • Running Pose with Lean Against Wall
    • Running Pose, Lean with Partner Support
    • Falling from Pose Position

    You may view the focal points for each of these drills on the Run Drill & Focal Points page.

     

    This Week’s Skill Assignment

    Keep the mail skill theme in mind for this week: falling, and specifically, staying on the (uncomfortable) edge of perpetual falling.

    You may go into the Run Drills & Focal Points page to review what we covered in the live session this week.

    Choose 2 or 3 focal points from this week’s drills that seem most beneficial to improving your form.

    During your training runs, keep that short list of focal points in mind. Cycle through them, holding attention on each for 2 to 5 minutes, then switch to the next one.

    Stop periodically, or as needed and perform one of the drills that helps you tune up your perception and control over the particular focal point you are working with at that moment.

    ~ Coach Mat

    #21477

    Mat Hudson
    Keymaster

    Third Session – March 19

    Today’s Topic

    You may want to review our discussion of How Running Cadence Works and see if from a slightly different angle in Fast Cadence Is An Indicator Of Good Form.

    Today we explored improving our interaction with the ground. Specifically, we studied how faster cadence helps minimize the ground reaction (impact) force for each step.

    Today’s Skill Topics

    We used various drills to work on our:

    • perception of pulling the foot toward the hip, and
    • perception of change of support, from one foot to the other

    The two obviously are connected.

    The only conscious muscular action we need to focus on is pulling that foot (or you might think of the heel, specifically) toward the hip. The purpose of this is explained in the article How Speed Happens in Running.

    If you are only pulling that foot, rather the pushing with it, the moment you pull it from the ground, your body weight is instantly shifted toward the other side of the body, to the other foot and the brain instantly drops that foot toward the ground in order to catch and support the body. This dropping is also passive – just let it drop – don’t drive the foot forward.

    And, since the poised foot needs to get to the ground sooner, you cannot afford to pull that heel higher than absolutely necessary.

    When you add the forward lean to this situation, that dropping foot lands just under your body’s center of mass (COM) to catch and support. However, because you are leaning, the COM immediately moves in front of that supporting foot and you continue with the forward fall. A fraction of a second later, as body weight upon it diminishes, you pull that foot and begin the process again. Running is a controlled, perpetual fall.

    In our activities today we focused on

    • Feeling support shift from one side to the other
    • Letting the other foot drop just under the COM, or almost just behind it
    • Feeling the legs spread out behind the body
    • Feeling less vertical oscillation

    Today’s Drills

    • Tapping in Springness
    • Pony
    • Pose with Change Of Support
    • Pose, Pull-Release

    And we spent time on the treadmill, working through the focal points, and experimenting with cadence (with the metronome).

    You may view the outline for each of these drills on the Run Drills And Focal Points page.

     

    Personal Notes

    Using a metronome app on my phone (I use the Soundbrenner Metronome found on Google Play) I took a reading on your cadence during our drills and found that your cadence was around 158 bpm (steps per minute).

    When we moved to the treadmill and controlled the speed you seemed to be challenged at holding around 150 bpm.

    On ground, speed was not constrained so that you could work on the foot movements to bring about a faster cadence and let speed change as it will. But on the treadmill it was more challenging to keep all aspects of the form held together (and the treadmill is not exactly like running on the ground) so your cadence was more challenged. You could practice on both, with a metronome to experience the challenge and advantages of each location.

    I described for you how a generally good (for human runners) cadence is 170-180 range. Eventually, you may come to a cadence of about 170, and that may be the more ideal end of the range for you. You are not far away at 158. But it may not be a good idea to force yourself to run at 170 yet. Work on smaller goals, like working up to 160 for a several practices, then 165, then 170. Let it develop gradually, as these focal points become more familiar to your nervous system your cadence will more easily speed up. You can use a metronome set to your currently comfortable cadence, or slightly challenging, to help you work on form with that kind of constraint in place.

     

    ~ Coach Mat

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