Thursday, 11 March 2010

RUNNING WITH SPRINGS! THIS FEELS SO EASY IT MUST BE CHEATING!

Leaning Kenyan Running Form
In Ewen's last post he gave a link to Steve Magness's website.
I found a very interesting article he had written on 'learning how to run'. In fact Steve was basically saying everything i thought i knew about correct running form was incorrect!!!
At first I felt a bit annoyed, but I kept an open mind and the more I read and watched his video's the more what he was saying made sense.
basically in simple terms he teaches you to use the
'hip stretch/reflex mechanism' so you can run with less effort.
Think of the road like a treadmill, with the road moving under your feet.
As you land let the ground drag your foot back so your hip and leg are fully extended behind you [see photo above].
Allow a passive toe off, now the interesting bit, keep your leg relaxed as your foot lifts from the ground, now feel your knee moving forward without any conscious effort on your own part,
at the same time your knee will bend letting the heel come up towards your butt and all this happens without effort, no powerful and tiring knee drive or hamstring butt kicking needed!
And even better the faster you run the faster and stronger will be your knee drive and heel lift and I repeat this all happens without conscious effort!!!
'Hip stretch/reflex mechanism'
So how does this work ?
Simple! by letting your foot get dragged back more, which in turn extends your hip and leg, the muscles and tendon in front of the hip are stretched, as the foot leaves the ground after toe off the muscles snap back, like a elastic band, pulling your leg forward!
It took me 2 runs to get the hang of this 'new to me' way of running. It feels much easier than my normal way of running, your just using energy to hold yourself upright in a good posture instead of burning lots of energy driving the knee and kicking your heels up, very very cool :]
now as i look at photo's and video's of elite runners i notice they all have this very extended hip and knee and are using their muscles and tendons as springs!
Steve says;
-The key to running is the elastic properties of the body. The body has so many reflexes and such that energy transfer and return should be a focus of training. Many parts of the body function as a rubber band. It really astounds me that more time isn't spent on exploring this concept or trying to improve it. That is one of the reasons for optimizing running mechanics. If you do it correctly then you can maximize this elastic effect, and thus minimize energy loss. Less energy lost, means less work that needs to be done.
So please read Steve's article and video and have a go at turning your legs into powerful springs, let us know how you get on, remember to keep an open mind, it will be worth it in the end!
READ HERE
VIDEO
Oh, and a big thanks to Ewen for the link!

35 comments:

jeremy said...

Thanks heaps for posting this. I knew exactly what you meant when I read it, having 'used' the technique before more or less unconsciously. Focused on achieving that flick back feeling in my run today and was amazed at how easy it felt! Your title is very apt!

RICK'S RUNNING said...

GLAD IT HELPED, I'VE WASTED A LOT OF MONEY IN THE PAST ON GURU TYPE RUNNING METHODS THAT DID NOT REALLY WORK, POSE, CHI ETC...

Ron Wolf said...

I'm confused, to me this seems a lot like Chi-running (foot strike under center of balance, rotate hip back, let the leg come forward naturally). Where do you see the difference?

Ron Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ron, sorry your concused, hope I can clear things up.
In Chi running you are told to pick your feet off the ground, in the Steve Magness method you leave the foot to come off the ground through the stretch reflex action of the muscles and momentum, this gives a longer stride and a better stretch reflex in the hip flexors, resulting in a faster knee drive.
Also Chi Running is all about leaning forward to try and run faster, something that is not part of the Steve Magness method

rain said...

In this stretch reflex techniqe of running, must the leg be fully straightened and locked in order to elicit the stretch reflex.

RICK'S RUNNING said...

You do not need a fully locked leg.
Its natural to have a slight bend at the knee to absorb shock.
If you are running off road on a soft surface where you do not need to absorb as much shock a straighter leg will give you more power!

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