“You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.” – Jerry Garcia

“Should I ‘sta’ or should I ‘mo’? – The Clash

Effective training is usually about hammering away at the basics. And that usually isn’t sexy. – Moses Bernard

In this age of social media, it’s not uncommon to see a post on twitter or Facebook about the latest and greatest ways to improve running technique. The truth is, how you run (from a technique point of view) is inside-out, not outside-in.

What do I mean?

Well, let’s start with two questions:

  1. Do your hip and ankle joints move freely and easily, without restriction?
  2. Are those joints stable and well supported by the muscles and soft tissue that surround them?

If you’re like most runners, the honest answer is probably, “I’m not sure.”

To run with a low risk of injury and develop as much speed as your talent will allow, you need certain pre-requisites from a movement quality perspective. Among those are ankle and hip joints that move freely.

Simply put, “form work” or running “technique” work, is really frosting on the cake.

What’s the cake? How you move.

From the inside-out.

Be smart my friends. “Bake the cake” before putting on the “frosting.” Doing that will enable you to enjoy lots of smiles and continual progress. Otherwise, you could end up going down a path that will ultimately lead to injury and frustration.

Not sure what to do next? Start with these:

    1. Find out where you’re restricted or unstable and as a result, more likely to injure yourself as you build running mileage. (If you’re not sure how, ask).
    1. Based on what you learn, get started immediately on building a true foundation of mobility, stability and strength so that your body is able to handle the repetitive stress inherent in running.
    1. Restore balance where its lacking. Do you need MORE mobility / flexibility work, OR…more stability / strength work? Who are you?
    1. Build your running mileage and speed smartly and progressively while you also build strength and resiliency.
  1. Once you’re stable and balanced, you’ve then got the pre-requisites to move on and refine your running technique.

Running technique work is FROSTING on the cake. The cake, is your mobility, stability and overall strength.

So if the above is the optimal path, what is the wrong path?

  1. Starting a progressive running program without knowing how you move from the inside-out, e.g. anything about your weaknesses or strengths or movement quality.
  2. Building your running mileage believing (mistakenly) that the key to improving is simply about running more mileage.
  3. Ignoring the pain that starts to develop in your hips, low back, feet or legs.
  4. Not only ignoring, but running through that pain.
  5. Listening to clueless coaches or training partners who tell you that to fix the pain, you need to change your shoes or simply run more mileage.

When you build a strong foundation, address weaknesses and fix them, and THEN progress in a smart way culminating with technique and form work, you CAN truly have your cake and eat it too! Who’s hungry? 🙂

  • No pain from injury.
  • No frustration as your program starts and then stops (due to injury).
  • More smiles, fun, fitness, and speed!

What are you waiting for?

Get in touch. I can help.

To your success!

~Coach Al

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