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August 2014

     The final days of August are upon us and although this brings the "last months" of summer; it does lead to our favorite season.  Fall race season!  Gearing up for your race(s) is what we want to help you with!  Even if you are a beginner runner, make the transition the right way: strong and healthy!
Happy Running.
 
P.S. Feel free to share these newsletters with your friends!
 

Sincerely,
                                     
The Runner's Academy
RUNNING FORM: IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE FOOT
By: Dr. Kris Sheppard

 

Lately the hot topic, as it relates to running form, is heel vs mid foot vs forefoot striking. There has been various research studies looking at the forces produced by runners hitting the ground with the three different striking options. The research at this point appears to show a decrease in loading rate when one hits the ground with a mid-foot strike pattern vs a heel-strike. This evidence is then supported by observations of African barefoot runners striking the ground in the same way. As usual, the media has blown this new evidence out of proportion and now coaches, trainers, and therapist alike are instructing their runners to simply land on the forefoot/mid-foot as a sole coaching cue.

 

So what is wrong with this?   The issue is; there is more to running technique and mechanics than isolating what the foot is doing. If you want to change what is happening at the end of the kinetic chain you need to look at the entire mechanical chain. I've seen a lot of hunched forward, over-striding, "forefoot" runners who ultimately develop overuse injuries through the hip, feet and lower limbs.

"Real vs Feel" was the way one golf-pro described this as we were having a conversation about running technique and how to instruct a proper foot strike.   I agree that landing on your forefoot is generally an ideal striking pattern for running; however, focusing too much on your foot position is problematic. This small amount of research has clouded our view on how to cue our clients.

Observing a client's foot strike pattern and then instructing he/she to "land on your forefoot/mid-foot" is jumping right to the end goal. Landing on your forefoot/mid-foot, loading and springing forward has more to do with posture, core and hip drive than focusing completely on what your foot in doing.

 

At the Runner's Academy we focus on the Fundamentals of running.

1. Posture- this encompasses "core" strength and breathing.

2. Cadence

3. Lift vs Drag through the swing phase

4. Understanding what stride length is and how to achieve it- Don't reach.

If these 4 objectives can be achieved a springy/proper foot strike will happen! Also remember; change has to happen slowly, identifying the weak areas and working on improving them especially in the foot and hip! Here is a video we found on this very subject. Dr. Lieberman discusses his research on foot strike patterns and mechanics of barefoot running. Listen to the last few slides on what he recommends!

Watch the Video here (60mins)

 

Enjoy.

  

GAINING AND MAINTAINING FOOT STRENGTH
 

The foot is an important part of our daily lives and especially important if we love to run or walk. What we see too frequently is that dedicating some time to foot mobility and strength is all too often neglected. As we learn more and more about what we put on our feet and how it affects our proprioception: that is, what feedback our body gets from things like ground contact and how our foot is moving in space, we understand the importance of monitoring foot health. Fashion aside, shoving our feet into tight fitting footwear vastly inhibits the foot's ability to move properly, as well as decrease overall sensation.

Here are some simple exercises that, even if done once in a while, will help you monitor your foot mobility and strength.

 

(Toe Spread)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you can't do this at first, use your hands gently pulling the toes apart.


 

 

(Big toe Lift)       (Big toe down, other toes up)

 

 

(Towel Scrunch)

 

 

Let's keep our feet healthy and happy!


 
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Purchase any package of personal training services in the month of September and receive 15% off!  Secure your spot now!

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Find out more about what we strive for here at The Runner's Academy.
 
Give yourself a break!
 
You find yourself ramping up your training for your fall race; but once in awhile you just don't have the energy for that tough, hard run or that long Sunday run. 
Get it done on the Alter-G!
You'll feel lighter, faster and amazing!

Exercise of the Month
 
The Dead Bug
This exercise is a great core exercise for anyone!  In the start position, you should have a neutral spine, head and shoulders on the ground, and be resisting your knees with your hands.  You should already feel how your abs engage.  With control, extend one arm and leg.  The trick is to maintain the neutral spine and your breath. 
Alternate sides.
You should NOT be lifting your back off the ground or be experiencing back pain. 
 
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