A lot is written regarding the “correct” running gait. What do you do to work on your stride in terms of cadence, stride length, hip position, etc?
When I work on my running form during a run, I focus on relaxing my arms, driving my knees forward, staying light on my feet, and increasing turnover. My stride naturally increases when I do this. If my legs are fatigued and I focus on lengthening instead of increasing turnover, then my pace actually slows down.
To work on increasing cadence, I do speed work and speed drills. The track workouts that I do help with both stride length and cadence. An example would be 200 meter repeats with a short recovery. I also use hill repeats for strength. Adding a hilly run, or doing hill repeats once a week is a great way to improve your running form, increase strength, and improve race performance.
I aim for 190-200 strides/minute. Many of the GPS watches will show your strides/minute. If you are in the 160’s then you may be over striding.
For hip position there are a couple of exercises that I do.
#1 Standing Hip Extension
What you need- a wall
Stand about one step away from a wall. With your back to the wall and your hand next to your hip bones, lift one foot up so that your shin is parallel to the ground. Extend your leg back so that your foot lands flat on the wall. Adjust the distance between you and the wall if needed. You should feel your glutes activating. This exercise helps with hip extension and proper glute activation during running.
#2 Glute Bridge March
What you need- a mat
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your butt off the ground so that your stomach is flat. You should be able to feel your glutes activate. Keeping your left side strong, bring your bent right leg up (like you are marching). Bring it back down while focusing on maintaining that bridge position, and bring the left leg up. Complete as many as you can or up to 30 while maintaining the bridge.
How do you and how should other runners think about goal setting?
- Set both short term and long term goals.
- Make a plan for working towards your goal.
- If you are not sure about what training plan will get you to your goal, ask someone who does know. Another possibility, finding a coach.
- Consider the amount of time you have to work towards your goals.
- In addition to time related goals, make strategy goals or training goals. For example, running a negative split in your next race, or running 40 miles a week.
- When choosing a goal race, check out the course and elevation.
Any questions that you have about Training/Nutrition/Racing can be entered in Comments. I will answer them in the next Wednesday’s Questions and Answers Post. Thank you KM for this weeks questions!