Why My Approach is Different
If you are a competitive runner, total beginner, ultramarathon runner, injured runner, or a younger runner, you will undoubtedly benefit from fine-tuning your form. As we all know at this point, they way you run has a huge impact on your level of enjoyment, your energy output, the stress on your body, and your likelihood of becoming injured. Correcting one’s form can be very difficult to do without the help of an experienced running coach–someone who can provide you precise, real-time feedback and skilled direction. Even if you were able to determine, on your own or from reading about form, how would you know what changes you need to make.
That’s where I come in. My main goal as a coach is to teach you not only what good running form is, but actually HOW to make the long lasting permanent changes that are possible. Over the last 25 years, combining a deep study of several body-based healing modalities with my own experience as an ultra runner, I have developed a unique system for working with form that has helped literally thousands of runners. Changing running form involves a combination of working with structural alignment, knowing how to move and initiate from the core, and working with muscle imbalances side to side.The exercises I teach you are functional and will transfer directly into your running gait. Your body will be very familiar with what it needs to do before you even start running.
What I’m looking for in Running Form:
Structural Alignment—Whenever you run or walk, or simply move in the world, you want your ear, shoulder, thoracic, hips, and ankles to be in vertical alignment from the side view. The closer your body is to perfect alignment, the less likely you are to suffer running injuries or develop musculoskeletal problems. Improved body alignment allows you take advantage of momentum and gravity; promotes a natural reflexive action from the muscles, tendons, and ligaments; and allows the joints to move freely through their range of motion with minimum impact.
Moving from the Core—Having a strong core and being able to coordinate one’s movement from the core are two different things. This distinction is often missed by those who focus only on developing core strength and not knowing how to apply that strength to running specifically. I have developed many exercises to help people really learn to run from the core where the big muscles that are meant for the job are. When you truly run from the core, running becomes easy.
Muscle imbalances from side to side—You may have muscles that are stronger on one side of your body than the other. This is an important aspect to address in developing your running form. None of us are completely symmetrical, and the two sides naturally function a little differently. But minimizing side-to-side imbalances will create a lot more ease with running. I can muscle test to determine any such side-to-side imbalances, and I can give you exercises that will, over time, start to strengthen the muscles that are weaker.
Running Form and the Individual
My form coaching is highly individual. I employ a wide range of creative techniques and exercises to specifically target the functional movements of running. Often two people may have a similar issue, but need a very different approach in how to tackle the problems given their structure and ingrained movement patterns. The techniques and exercises I teach, along with the development of skills and awareness, will allow you to respond to and master changes in your structure, movement, and form. Each exercise I give you will be tailored to your specific needs. I will provide you with detailed instructions on how to work with each exercise, as well as how to focus your attention while running.
My specialty is finding the key that unlocks each person’s form potential. The result is that you will not only become a much freer runner, but you will become a much freer human being in all of your activities.
There is no one way of running: each person has a unique style, unique strengths and weaknesses, and a unique body type. However, there are some basic universal principles underlying all movement that will enhance the positive and reduce or even eliminate the negative.
Running Form Principles
My methods utilize the laws and principles of biomechanics along with specialized neuromuscular techniques in order to:
- Minimize Energy expenditure
- Reduce unnecessary impact stress on the joints and muscles
- Overcome susceptibility to injury
I will help you improve your running form from the ground up. I will teach you proper body alignment and basic principles of movement (how to put your body through a range of motion), including:
- Absence of unnecessary effort
- Moving from your center or core
These principles will help you identify and manifest the basic qualities of good running form such as:
- Directed arm swing
- Optimal body lean
- Integration of upper and lower body
- Utilization of the powerful core muscles of the hips and pelvis.
Benefits of Integrating Movement Principles
Skillful use of these principles is central to fluid, efficient movement and provides the foundation for continued form improvement. These movement principles can also help one generate the kinetic component of “the zone”, a heightened state of expanded consciousness, the same delicious pure joy, peace, unity and acute mental clarity that people often seek through meditation.