Running form analysis and injury

February 27, 2009

Last week I had Carmen video tape my running form. Today we got  a chance to look at the video footage and found some interesting things. My left leg (the one I’ve been having a little trouble with injury wise) does a few things differently from my right:

  • It tends to spend more time on the ground than the right foot.
  • On the toe off the left foot doesn’t flex as much, so there isn’t as much push off as just a lifting of the foot off the ground.
  • On push off my left leg doesn’t really straighten out much whereas the right does.
  • The kick back does not go as high in the back as the right.
  • When the leg comes forward it kind of just plops down under my hip instead of having a motion where it goes out forward and then pressing back into the ground to push me forward.

My right foot leg on the other hand comes up more in front and then the foot comes down and back when it hits the ground to propel me forward. The entire time through contact and push off the right side of body is upright (pretty much completely straight). As I move forward my foot flexes and my toes push off the ground where my leg almost becomes straight. So I end up having more forward thurst with the right leg, then the left leg just plops down and that’s putting more strain on the left leg. Instead of propelling me forward it’s kind of slowing me down and battling those forces.

I’ll try and get the video recording and post it soon but here you can see an elite runner (who I’m nowhere close to in speed, ability or form). Notice the extension on the foot that just pushed off, and the foot in front ready to come down in a backwards motion to propel the body forward.

Paula Radcliffe

As I try and get back into my running I’ll need to start focusing on this difference between my feet, trying to ensure I get my left leg back up and pushing backward when it lands and having good push off. Let’s see how it goes.


There’s always more to learn and improve on with running

January 14, 2009

This morning was a cold run in Austin, depending on your car the temperature read between 26 to 29 when we finished around 7:00 am. I ran around 10 miles with Ken, Bruce and Mike. It’s been relatively cold this week and I’m starting to run out of outer layers, well that don’t smell. Guess I’ll be doing laundry tonight.

I’ve ended up going to Steve’s office hours after work both days this week, Monday at Progress and Tuesday at the Draft House. It’s a relatively laid back environment, people drinking beers, I had my hard liquor (coke can yesterday, orange soda on Monday). Each person that’s there kind of gets their, what’s up with you and what do you want to discuss moment with Steve on these days. There are times I learn more about running from the questions others ask as well as Steve’s response than my own questions that I think I need answered. That reminds me, these sessions are helping me be a “better listener” in addition to learning about running.

Part of last nights discussion touched on running form, Brenda, Katie and I had a few things brought up about our form. Brenda is super efficient, Katie rotates her shoulders during her arm swing and at slower paces I have a flat foot strike and don’t tuck my hip in. So what about fixing all these things, I’ve never heard anybody say this is an easy thing to do and it may not be the right thing for every person. I did train with Carmen and Ricardo for a year and a half and it did change my form at faster speeds, with my goal being to get more power and push off. Given that my form now is different at slower versus faster paces I guess the 5k and 10k training did have an impact. Steve made a good point that for most of us we haven’t maximized our “engines” and can get a lot of gains by focusing on that right now with the mileage we’re putting in and get into running form type things later on.

During the run today I did try and do a little bit of the running at varying paces Steve recommended but was also trying to pay attention to how different parts of my body felt at different paces. A few observations:

  • I make more noise with my foot strike at slower paces (8:00 per mile)
  • At really fast paces I make a lot of noise with my feet since I seem to be forcing my leg down instead of rolling forward
  • At slow paces my hip is not tucked in as Steve indicated, makes my butt kind of stick out. If I tuck it in it seems to naturally increase my pace. I need to keep hitting the gym.
  • The effort I perceive when I run at a 7:30 min/mile pace or an 8:00 min/mile pace doesn’t really seem to be any different. Maybe has to do with efficiency and form.

So Far This Week
Sun – 10
Mon – 10
Tue – 15 & Gym
Wed – 10

Current Wins: Nutrition, Hydration

Current Losses: Gym work,

Paying attention to my arms to control my side stitch

November 27, 2008

Met Mike, Ken and Larry for a the Tempo run. 2 mile warm-up, then 4 mile tempo and a mile cool down before soaking at Barton Springs.  It was a little humid today and the tempo run wasn’t as smooth as I would have hoped but overall not bad.


During the warm-up I started feeling my side tighted up so it took some focusing during the run to keep it under control. On today’s run and some recent ones I have noticed that when I’m struggling with my breathing or run I modify my arm movement. I do two things. The first is my shoulders tend to rise up and the second is my arm swing starts to rotate a little more. It’s not a lot of rotation but to keep my side stitch away I have to remember to relax my shoulders and also focus on moving my arms in more of a straight line forwards and backwards. I’ve tried this the last few times and it seems to be working.

The end of the tempo run on the Enfield 4 Mile loop is fast and today I wanted to make sure I kept it well under control, really trying to mentally map it to taking downhills easy at CIM and keeping the pace under control for the first 20 miles. I used the last mile to focus on my form, my foot strike, push off, swing back and forward. Just a few more runs to visualize the different states of the race.

Why worry about my arms when I’m running?

June 12, 2008

After Team Rogue’s 6, 8, 10, or 14 mile run this morning a few of us were discussing running form. We of course made fun of each other, Geezer made a comment about how he can’t hold his forearm up less than a 90 degree angle since he’ll loose blood to them.  One might say he runs so hard his body is getting everything to his legs … I just said that i don’t have that problem because I’m not old … yet 😉 But before I get too carried away let’s not forget that Geezer did finish well ahead of the pack today.

I’d trained with Carmen and Ricardo for a while and both of them are very good about running form. I’ve seen them see somebody and say, i bet you that person had a problem with their right leg, probably around the hamstring area. And then you talk to that person and they did have something a year ago or something like that. It is totally amazing.

One thing I’ve remembered from both of them is to not swing my shoulders but swing the arms at the socket. So basically trying to avoid the swaying of the upper body left and right. The other thing is focusing on using my arms. At hard track workouts or a 5k race Ricardo towards the end will scream out use my arms. Focusing on that made me forget the pain in my legs and they tended to follow the arms. With the long aerobic work we’re doing it’s been nice to be able to focus on running form lately, making sure I’m upright, breathing well, have good arm motion. I’m sure something isn’t quite right but I’ll have to focus on the next thing once these become second nature.

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