Running Form – Sometimes Things Are Not the Way You Think

I have been reading or re-reading a bunch of books on running lately:

  • Chi Running – Danny Dreyer
  • Natural Running – Danny Abshire
  • Your Best Stride – Jonathan Beverly
  • Master The Art of Running – Malcolm Balk
  • 80/20 Running – Matt Fitzgerald
  • Run – Matt Fitzgerald

Trying to figure out this running thing a bit more and finding out that I like reading them on the iPad than hardcover or on other electronic formats. I think that I have read more books since I started using the iPad than I have in a long time. Oh well, that is a different post, come Harold – get focused back on this running stuff.

Anyways, the other night I was re-reading Master The Art of Running and came across the below:

Which got me to thinking about how much my form has changed since I started using Chi Running back in mid October. It really feels as if I have made a LOT of progress on changing some of how I run.

At least that is what I believed.

Well, today I asked the trainer at Planet Fitness to video me in slow motion to see how much I had actually changed my running style.

I ran at various speeds (6.5 to 9.3 mph and then slowed back down again), because I believed that your form changes as you change speeds. I didn’t try to force things and just let myself run – I figured that would be the best way to see how much of the Chi Running stuff I have incorporated into my running.

  • Align Posture – not really
  • Slight lean – nope
  • Midfoot landing – nope
  • Landing under hips – nope
  • Lifting foot – nope
  • Arms 90* angle – maybe
  • Running everything going forward – nope
  • Cadence 170-180 — 175 spm

Saying that I was shocked at what I saw when I watched the video for the first time would be an understatement. I have watched it several more times since then and each time I can believe how little my running mechanics have changed.

The strange thing is that I felt really good running during this video, nothing hurt, I felt smooth, in control even at the 9.3 mph speed. I thought I was running with a much more of midfoot landing and was leaning into the run. I guess I had a classic case of Faulty Sensory Awareness and wishful thinking that I had actually improved my running form.

I found this old video from 2013 and except that it is not in slow motion, the form is basically identical – no changes. If anything my form now is worse than it was then. Needless to say I am disappointed, but after reading Your Best Stride (before I did the video), I was not as surprised as I would have been before I read that book.

It seems that I have not made a whole helluva lot of progress on improving my stride in over four years.

Well, I don’t have a lot of answers and the video only raises more questions about my running and how I do it.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my stopping running with Bennie was more of the solution than “improving” my running form with the Chi Running program. Which I had a sneaking suspicion might be the case, when I wrote my end of year reflection.

Now to keep moving forward. I have a feeling that Finding Your Best Stride might become the book I refer to more as a reference for improving my running – it seems to be where my body is taking me. Which is okay, after reading and re-reading it again many of the things that the author discusses or recommends makes a great deal of sense to me.

Which means not so much starting over, because Chi Running does a good job of recommending many of the same positive running form features, but more going on slightly different path that better fits who I am and where I am with my running.

It seems that I have a bad case of Faulty Sensory Awareness – oh well that is pretty minor in the overall scheme of things.

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