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Running Fitness – Why strength is limiting your performance

Personal Trainer Solihull. Strength and ConditioningnewsRunning Fitness – Why strength is limiting your performance



September 5 , 2020 | Posted by Dave Cripps |

Running Fitness – Why strength is limiting your performance

Me and the coaching team may have just caused a ruckus in the local area!

We were filming a ‘Coaches Challenge’ which may have caused the odd traffic disruption…

Anyhow, aside from this tomfoolery, the last week has seen me chasing my 11 month old daughter Amelia up the stairs, a task she can now do with my ‘spotting’ in approx. 30 seconds!

The mechanics of her movement as she motors up the steps is crazy, but highlights something we’ve been reading up on recently.

Many of you have fitness goals, often linked to activities like running or cycling, whereby high quality, efficient movement is key to run faster and avoid niggles.

So last weekend a triathlete from London drove all the way up to the Shrine for these very things (a compliment to the unique and leading path we are creating at CP).

To introduce this I’m going to use the term ‘big brakes and small engines’

Like many of you when he ran he overstrided, creating an angle at his leg like a ‘brake’, placing his centre of mass very vertical. Why’s this a problem for you?

Latest science shows more efficient/fitter runners have their centre of mass slightly forward, vindication for the coaching cues we use at CP of running ‘tall but slightly leaned forward’.

But also, his toes struck the floor well in advance of rest of his foot, what we call ‘toe striking’…

This is a problem for you as its place a lot of demand on your calf muscles (small engine), Achilles and knee joint AND as shown in another piece of recent science…

‘Runners who had distinct toe striking had a greater risk of injury’.

While we could make some acute improvements to his mechanics, the truth is he can’t do this as well as he can, as he lacks the physical strength in the right places to do this.

You may hear us at CP using terms like, ‘strike under your hip, punch the floor, jump sharp, imagine your hopping off hot coals’…

All of this funny talk is actually also based on the latest research, showing runners are more likely to improve their mechanics to perform better by focusing on simple cues which focus on the force at the floor.

This knowledge and coaching is a reason we are making a name, now internationally in the areas of S&C for running fitness and performance.  But to close three key tips for your benefit:

1 – Run tall, but feel your leaning forward a touch

2 – Focus on feeling your striking the floor under your hips

3 – Remember technique improvements require a more advanced ‘physical toolbox’ (i.e. strength) so value your lifting.

So if you have fitness related goals to run, cycling, triathlon, never forget improving your technique to be more efficient to boost your endurance and performance, requires you to develop strength in key areas fundamentally.

Hence why this morning, hidden on the edge of Solihull between Earlswood and Tamworth in Arden, there will be a number of people like this, doing their strength and conditioning training with us.

Dave ‘making waves’ Cripps