I had a chat with a friend that went something like this:
Her: That post about the gait analysis was hilarious. I could just imagine you trying to hide under your chair as they showed the video. I couldn’t stop laughing.
Me: Uh, thanks?
Her: No, really. I like that you really talked about how it made you feel. It was good. But the real question is what did you learn? Was it just humiliations galore, or do you actually have knowledge to share?
Good point. While I may have looked like an extraordinary train wreck on the video, my issues were really pretty common to most runners.
Many runners have a weak core (abs and back) and glutes, combined with tight hamstrings. In my case, I had decent core strength thanks to years of Pilates, but my hamstrings were tight and my glutes and quads were unbalanced, with one side stronger than the other.
Increasing overall strength and flexibility can do a lot for improving running form, particularly later in your run when your body gets tired and form naturally deteriorates.
Start with basic abdominal curls. I prefer Pilates-style curls:
You can include hip bridging:
You can also take it to the next level with the single leg bridge for core, hips and hamstrings:
The analysis also recommends a tripod plank, although it suggests balancing on elbows instead of hands as they show here:
Isometric wall squats are a great way to start building strength:
Once you build good strength and balance against the wall, you can move on to adding a large stability ball behind your back for added core workout, or you can do a free form squat as if you’re trying to almost-but-not-quite sit in a chair. For those squats, make sure that your back is straight, your weight is on your heels and your knees are not extending out beyond your toes when you bend.
Strengthen the glutes (butt muscles) with a basic clam shell exercise:
Single leg squats can increase strength. Doing this advanced maneuver on the Bosu as shown also works the core at the same time:
Hip hikers also increase gluteal strength:
Hamstrings and Hip Flexors
Release your hip flexors with this stretch:
All runners need to stretch their calves for flexibility and strength:
In the coming weeks, I’ll talk a little bit about their nutrition recommendations: what to eat in general, how to fuel on long run or race days, and how to refuel afterward.
If you have any specific questions, let me know!