Previous posts have included suggestions about running at a good rate – three steps per second, landing on the mid-sole rather than the heels, and running with hips forward; as if being towed by a car you can barely keep up with.
Another piece of the jigsaw is “running tall”. If you can run tall, your stride length will still be quite long “without really trying”; despite having to get the foot down and up again quickly to maintain a fast tempo.
The best runners run high off the ground!
A good mental image is the skyhook. Run along imagining there is a skyhook attached to the scruff of your neck, the other end attached to a helicopter speeding forwards. You are being lifted up and forward by the skyhook.
Think of it as the body running over the ground rather than along the ground.
In reality it is the arms and the abdomens that do the work, not a rope or skyhook. The abdomens – stomach muscles – keep the body in a tall posture; there is a sense of the stomach “lifting” the legs off the ground; and the arms drive the body hard so that the legs have to follow.
And does running high off the ground mean that the feet hit the ground hard? No! You know you have got the hang of it when your footfall is light – when you are running tall and seem to skip effortlessly over the ground, feet making as little sound as possible. The best runners make it look – and sound – easy, natural, unforced, graceful and relaxed.
“Relaxation” - Let your throat make all the noise, not the feet. “Like a child” – natural, flowing and flexible, not rigid. “Hips forward” and “High off the ground” – keep an erect posture and stay high, try not to drop down when the foot contacts the ground. Run tall, over the ground.
Then add in your conditioning training and eventually you will be able to maintain a fast pace for a long time – not just a few seconds off your 10k time, but minutes!
Form Principle #5 – Run Tall.
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