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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 01-22-2005, 07:51 PM   #1
Woody Davis
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I'm looking for a running program, however I'm not training for a race and I don't want a techinical program of run Xmiles in day 1 and Y miles day two. I'm talking about a program that would fit in with crossfit. Technique on running style. I've seen this program mentioned and gone to the website. Anyone care to comment on it or other programs?

I have a book called Explosive Running by Dr. Yessis. It changed my running forever by alerting me to the dangers of a heel strike in running and the dangers of running shoes. Just looking for help to have fun running with safe technique.

I never do any LSD running, but I think running is one of the basic skills that everyone should be proficient at performing.
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:14 PM   #2
Eugene R. Allen
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Woody - To some degree you are limited in the degree to which you can alter your running form as a result of leg length discrepencies, toe in or out issues, bowleggedness or its opposite, hip and back issues...the list is long. However...there are some fundamentals that if observed, will make you more efficient and thus faster at lower energy output.

The best program I have found that would fit your requirements is called the Pose method of running by Dr. Nicolas Romanov. I have his DVD and in it he demonstrates proper running form and the drills to do to get there.

Consider finding some stairs to train on. Huge training benefit in the CrossFit intensity way without too much worry about issues of technique, overuse or heel striking. Stair running rocks.

Some basics - Do stay off your heels. Heel striking means you are over striding and with each step you put on the brakes just a little bit. Try to strike midfoot and spend minimal time at foot strike. Recover your foot high, don't drag it along the ground. Let gravity drop your foot underneath you. Don't turn your shoulders with your arm swing. Let your arms track back and forth with elbows close in and fingertips coming near your hips...fore and aft not rotationally.

Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes before you run and for a like amount of time after. You need to allow your HR and muscles to gradually warm up to the task of running, and afterwards you need to allow the systems to return to a normal rate which will help flush lactic acid and help avoid muscle soreness.

Practice running, just like you practice swimming. Don't just go out and run. Have a plan, a workout, drills that you do to help make you better at the skill of running. Some argue that everyone can run and that you are stuck with how you run. This is true if you don't practice efficient technique and just run the way you have always run.
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Old 01-23-2005, 12:00 PM   #3
Woody Davis
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Thanks Eugene. Like I said, I'm just doing the running as part of crossfit. I'm not a competitive runner so I want to have fun, be injury free, and get a great workout. I'll probably read both Chirunning and Pose since i like to get more than one point of view. They both have been mentioned when I searched the archives.

Are the books enough or do you need a DVD? So far my running technique "feels" fine since I enjoy it and never have any soreness or injury. It's not as if I'm trying to correct a serious problem.
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Old 01-23-2005, 01:22 PM   #4
Eugene R. Allen
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I have the DVD Woody, and what I like about it is that you can see the proper form demonstrated in motion without having to rely on your interpretation of still photos from the book.

It is entirely possible that your running form is just fine as it is...but I would suspect that you have one or more issues you can correct that will make you more efficient.

Don't completely throw aside the idea of running in a race. Competition is a natural outgrowth of your run improvement and will give you a better reason to run than just having a great workout.
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:34 PM   #5
Ross Hunt
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Eugene or anyone,

When all these anti-heel strike methods - barefoot running, Chi, Pose - feature reccomendations to strike midfoot first, what exactly does that mean? Are we supposed to strike ball, go lightly to the heel, and then shift back to the ball as we end the foot contact? Are we supposed to just strike the ball of the foot?
I acquired some shin pain from doing too much sprint volume in bad shoes, and doing ball-only foot contacts seems to aggravate the problem, but going ball-light heel-ball seems to really put the breaks on my running speed.
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:11 PM   #6
Eugene R. Allen
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Ross - Great question, and one that is addressed directly in the Pose DVD. Dr. Romanov says that you should have about a pencil's thickness between your heel and the ground during the foot strike cycle. I'm not sure that's entirely practical or possible for everyone and I was sure I was a hard heel striker until recently.

I went to South Sound Running in Tacoma to get some new running shoes. The gal that helped me had me run away from and then back toward her and by the time I was sitting back on a stool she had a set of Asics 2100's in her hand. She told me I am a neutral runner with a very slight over pronation. I thought I was a heel striker with no pronation at all.

There are generally three types of arches, high arches that are stiff, like mine, flat feet that are unstable and generally over-pronate (roll inward after footstrike and during toe off) and neutral where the arch is normal and the foot tracks fairly straight ahead. What kind of shoe you wear is based on your foot type and running form.

Once you have good shoes on your feet (my shoe store gal was not so impressed with what Nike has out these days but liked Asics and Addidas though it is the model of shoe not the brand of shoe that is important) you can address how you interact with the earth when you run.

Overstriding is the act of reaching forward with your foot, toes up, so that the first impact is with the heel of your foot and a straight leg. That stresses your legs terribly and adds a great amount of stress to your body that WILL lead to injury. When you run downhill with too slow a stride you will exaggerate this overstriding and are likely to get shin splints. The farther forward you reach with your foot, the more you are overstriding and the more you are slowing yourself down with each stride.

When you run really fast you are almost certainly running higher up toward the ball of your foot than rolling forward from the heel. During fast sprints then you are running almost exclusively on the ball of the foot. No ball-heel-ball during sprints.

In between those two foot positions is midfoot striking. Stand up. Squat slightly and jump into the air a few times. Feel how you use your quads first to get the majority of your lifting thrust, and then at the end you extend your foot by flexing your calves and while in the air your feet remain pointing downward. You would really have to concentrate to lift your toes up and land on your heels when you come back down. You won't do that because it would jolt the heck out of you. You need the damping effect of your ball of foot landing, calf muscle engagement and then the full catch of your quads to slow you down and then reload for the next jump.

Now, do that again but take out your quads. Just jump (a few inches is all you will get) up and down quickly with a rapid fire of the calves. Again your feet will point downward and when you come back down muscle elasticity will reload the system and assist in your next jump.

It is that muscle elasticity you are taking advantage of by being a midfoot runner. I have a problem with running too high on your foot because you will shorten your achilles and likely get achilles tendonitis. Midfoot is better. You get the muscle elasticity rebound and you don't shorten your achilles tendon.

All of this is explained much better in the Pose DVD and I hope I am expressing this in a cogent and understandable fashion.
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Old 01-23-2005, 04:48 PM   #7
Woody Davis
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Good discussion. Eugene I agree that I can improve. As for heel-strike etc., in the Yessis book (and Yessis has trained Olympians in different distances) he says the strike is depended on how fast your are running. Sprinting is higher up on the foot (all ball of foot running) while jogging is more mid-foot. He says the biggest problem of cushy shoes is that they allow a heavy heel strike whereas you could never do that barefoot running. The arch of the foot provides more shock absorption than any shoe at this point. Yessis also likes to use barefoot running as a training tool to teach proper form. Furthermore, using a shoe with a lot of support weakens the foot, just like using a weight lifting belt weakens the back. Of course, if you've been running with cushy shoes for years, trying to go straight to barefoot running could cause an injury.

Regarding shoes that "fix" problems like pronation etc, I think Yessis was very much against that but I will have to take a look at the book as its been a few years since I read it.

Nike has latched on to this barefoot running trend with their Nike Free line. Shoes for people who don't want to wear shoes. Never underestimate a guys willingness to sell something. haha I tried them but didn't quite like them.

Eugene, as for competing, maybe one day. As a kid I loved to run, but never long distance. I still love to run but I want to do it safely so that I can Crossfit for years to come. Nothing burns more or feels better than taking off on a good run and just pushing yourself hard for a few minutes. I call it Hounds of Hell - as if they are chasing me.
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:13 PM   #8
Ross Hunt
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Eugene,

Thanks, that description was great - the people in computer lab are probably wondering why I was hopping up and down and jogging outside of the room, though.


Woody,

Thanks for mentioning the Yessis book. I checked it out on Amazon and looks like exactly what I'm looking for - a non-heel strike running technique that encompasses short-distance running as well as long-distance running.
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Old 01-23-2005, 06:45 PM   #9
Woody Davis
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Re: Yessis, I didn't read the whole book because its more for a serious runner, but he devotes a whole chapter to foot care and has great frame by frame pictures of what happens to the foot during running. I think its worth buying and having.
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:11 AM   #10
Ross Hunt
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Check out this absolutely golden thread on sprint technique. It is a compilation of quotes from Charlie Francis:

http://www.charliefrancis.com/community/showthread.php?t=2911&highlight=sprint+t echnique+ball+strike

On the following page there are also excellent video loops of world-class sprint form.

FYI, I found all this when I was checking out the CF forum for opinions regarding the Yessi book, and it has a pretty bad rap there. Of course, they are sprinters rather than long distance runners.
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