During my Team Over The Top running clinics, I always include outdoor running track sessions (weather permitting). These are used not only to improve the speed and power endurance of my runners but to focus on PERFECT PRACTICE. I stress the word PERFECT – everyone who plays a sport or runs competitively knows how important it is to practice. What most of them do NOT engage in is PERFECT PRACTICE to ensure injury free participation.
I took a series of photographs of my runners during a recent track training session to illustrate the above point. The photo below shows my lead runner over-rotating on the left side with the arm driving across the body up to the opposite shoulder. This creates unnecessary lateral movement that in turn leads to left hip drop and, ultimately, IT Band pain if not corrected. My trail runner above is locked in and balanced except that her right arm wanders away from the mid-line. This causes shoulder rotation and ultimately leads to excess pronation of the right foot – a recipe for shin splints.You will notice above much better alignment and arm action by both runners after I got them focused on bracing across the chest and driving the arms forward as if shaking hands. The left head tilt of my lead runner means too much tension on the left side of the neck. If not corrected, this will cause the whole left side to shut down.Finally, after about 25 minutes of perfect practice, you will notice perfect running form during the 400 metre fast pace repeat. Even though the pace is a rather brisk 1:42 per 400 metres, the effort is efficient and injury-free.Earlier in the training session, you will notice that all 3 of my runners in the photo above are over-rotating in the shoulders. This in turn is causing them drop the hip on the over-rotated side which in turn causes over-striding and, ultimately, runner’s knee or Achilles Tendinitis.Once we completed a perfect practice drill of squaring up the body and improving the forward knee drive phase, the technique of safe, efficient and powerful running was almost complete.Please note the perfect run position throughout the body in the above photo of my runners. It is almost like watching poetry in motion. The centered head position, squared up shoulders, comapct, forward arm swing, level hips, forward knee lift and drive, mid-foot landing position, bent knees throughout, subtle heel flick and quiet foot contact on the track are the result of PERFECT PRACTICE!
Thus, it should come as NO surprise to you that NONE of my Team Over The Top runners get injured running. I simply will not allow it! I am relentless in my pursuit of PERFECT PRACTICE. Those who train with me know that there is NO room for sloppy technique. In other words, do it perfectly or not at all. This often times drives my runners crazy BUT, at the end of the day, they KNOW it is what keeps them running injury-free, strong and faster than at any time in their lives.
If you are the type of runner who simply goes out and ‘runs’, never understanding why you get runners’ ‘itis’ injuries, wake the hell up and implement some of the tips featured in this blog. In other words…PRACTICE PERFECTLY!!