A Macro View of Running: Is Your Concept Slowing You Down?
There are a lot of misconceptions about how to run well. And it’s not just casual joggers and weekend warriors who have them.
People think of walking and running as fundamental activities—and we often assume they’re naturally acquired skills that don’t require instruction. And yet running, especially fast, is a complicated activity that requires an efficient technique for athletes to thrive. (And stay injury-free.)
The number of athletes who run inefficiently and get injured as a result is proof that something needs to change.
A key challenge is that, when it comes to running, often we just do it. Few athletes get good training early on. Instead, we develop our own concepts about how to run well. (Hint: Not a good idea.)
If you have experienced difficulty running fast or suffered repeated injuries while running then your concept of running may have allowed you to develop neuromuscular habits that make your running efforts as near to sprinting as salsa dancing is to ballet.
Is your concept of running biomechanically sound?
Athletes have a major misconception about running.
Most people interpret a movement by what they see. When we watch an athlete run fast, the movement that catches our eye is that of a leg swinging in front of a body. So we assume that the action of lifting the leg and placing one foot in front of the other is how a person runs well.
Based on this theory, it’s easy for people to construct a formula for sprinting that includes an emphasis on lifting or swinging one leg in front of the other faster. They would, however, be wrong.
Worse, this misconception of running can lead to injury—and it is very far from the approach that results in efficient movement and safe high-speed running.
An accurate concept of running is important.
If you learn a sound approach to running and truly understand why it’s effective, then you can not only digest the technique but also ingest it well. When you know why something works you are also less likely to make changes or omit critical aspects that would render the method ineffective or even dangerous to perform.
Before you can run faster, you have to have an effective concept and approach to running. Then you can learn how to run smarter and get better results.
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