Improving Your Biomechanics
Getting Up To Speed With Stability And Core, Technique And Biomotorical Workouts
All mentioned parameters are all mutually related and adjusting one parameter affects all the others. What we are going to do, is optimize the balance between these parameters. We are looking for a steady cadence around 180 steps/min (no less then 170 steps/min). From there we are working primarily on the GCT, as this also improves the other parameters.
The adjustment you need to make, to improve your running economy, is a combination of flexibility, strength, speed and coordination training that focus on decreasing the GCT. We have experienced that a decrease in GCT of 5ms will result in 4-5 second faster mile times, even if you run with the same intensity i.e., using the same amount of energy.
Research have shown that decreasing your GCT at sprint and submaximal speeds will show as a decrease in GCT at lower speeds as well. This means that you become a more economically marathon runner, if you devote a portion of your training program to becoming a faster sprinter. This means that you need to bring down the GCT at higher speeds, before you can see an effect in you low-intensity zones. So, even though it might sound off, that you have to improve you sprint and submaximal pace to become a faster and more efficient long distance runner, tis is the case. The reason for this, is that you are improving you speed, strength, flexibility and coordination, when you are doing more sprint-specific exercises that works specifically on improving you sprinting pace.
While working on your pace in high-intensity zones, you are also getting the additional benefits of improving you running form. This is especially important in long distance running, where we often see both armatures and elite runners collapse in their hips and “sit” while running, as they become fatigued. Apart from improving your running form through strength, flexibility, coordination and speed training, you should also consider the benefits of the right equipment.
Apart from improving your running form through strength, flexibility, coordination and speed training, you should also consider the benefits of the right equipment. A lighter more stable running shoe might also have a positive impact on your GCT. This we have experienced in years of working with runners. The results of lighter footwear might work, but experience have also shown us that the effect is very much individual and changes from runner to runner. This is why we are not drawing any conclusions, but leaving it to you to consider, when investing in the next pair of shoes.
There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about radical changes in running style, but we still encourage you to finely tune and adjust your technique during the season. A couple of the basic running principles, we do encourage you to work on continuously are:
- Run with the upper part of your body straight
- Hit the ground with the foot right beneath your body’s center of mass, not in front of it
- Run with a relatively high cadance of 170-180 depending on your height, bodycomposition etc.
- Land on the middle part of your foot, not your heel
If you focus on these four principles of form, you are already making progress towards a better-running economy. If you implement our technique, mobility, strength, and speed drills in your regular training plan, you will automatically progress towards a much better running economy and a vastly improved biomotor.
Below we will touch upon the specific reasons to do these biomechanical routines and connect them to a wholeness approach to running, which again is at the heart of our philosophy of running.
You are going to get a better coordination through improving your technique. Whilst most long distance runners, focus on improving their endurance and VO2max, they seem to neglect focused work on improving their technique. In many cases you could improve your running economy and thereby your race pace, by improving your running technique.
Even though you are not likely to be running like Haile Gebrselassie or Eliud Kipchoge, a focus on your technique will improve not only your running economy but also the subjective feeling of running. A better running technique, will make you feel running is more easy and fluent. This will have a great impact on the psychology of running as well.
As with many aspects of improved running economy, a better form will also make you less prone to injuries, as the strain on your body will decrease, as you improve your technique and coordination.
We have put together a collection of technique exercises, a small routine, which is integrated into your structured workouts. These simple technique exercises is a great basis for improving your coordination. As you get deeper into the programs, we encourage you to mix up the routine, and shift through a range of exercises.
As a basic member, you will have access to a level 1 and 2 basic technique program. this is more than enough to get you into the routine of doing technique exercises as a part of your weekly routine. As you develop and get further with the foundational programs, the standard membership plan will present you with additional technique routines, raging from level 1 through 3. As a premium member, you will not only be presented with basic standard and premium technique routines, we will also get more into how you can put together your own routines, giving you complete freedom to vary your workouts, and still making sure you are targeting all aspects of your coordination and technique.
Pace exercises or pace specific exercises are an efficient and great way of supplementing your low intensity runs during foundational training and it will even improve your running economy. These types of pace specific routines are at Greenmoor Running called Speed and Agility workouts. They are designed to work on acceleration and sprint sequences, at which you will run at maximal intensity and take long breaks in between.
This is slightly different form other high intensity approaches, but are solidly founded in the latest science, on improving your optimal pace in long distance runs.
The results from this will lead to less Ground Contact Time, and an overall better running economy at greater speeds. these results are directly transferrable form your sprints to your long distance runs, thereby improving your 5K, 10K, 1/2-marathon and marathon times, setting you up for new personal bests.
These results alone are heavy arguments for making speed and agility exercises a regular part of your structured workouts. We have included a list of different speed and agility exercises, which have also been written directly into the structured workouts. These should not be skipped during your regular workouts. These exercises will be in your structured workout plan and should be done at least once a weak, during your foundational training.
These exercises can in the beginning of your new running adventure replace traditional workouts with weights and plyometrics. It is okay to leave out those elements, if you cannot find the motivation or time to implement that kind of strength and agility routines, around your regular training plan. That said, we strongly advise to dig deep and find that motivation, making you fill out your supplementary routines with plyometric exercises. As for lifting weights and traditional strength training, we will return to that below.
For all members, we have included a list of speed and agility exercises, which will be referenced in the structured workout, so be sure to work them through before running. All premium members will in addition to this be presented with a range of plyometric exercises that can be incorporated into your regular strength routine, just adding an extra layer to this, and making it even more fun and motivating to do.
Again, remember to get properly warmed up, before starting any high intensity workouts, and this very much applies to speed, agility and plyometric exercises. These types of routines put a very high strain on your body. Also, remember to move along progressively, starting with few and light sessions, and then building on them during the seasons. This way you have a higher chance at avoiding breaking down your body and increasing the risk of injuries.
Greater Strength Greater Stability
In the early stages of your training plan, we encourage you to incorporate core strength and stability training, as a regular routine supplementing your runs.
Stability is closely connected to mobility, and we will return to this later. The important bit here, is to know that stability is extremely important, and you need to work on it.
Stability is the ability to maintain your postural equilibrium, or base of support, thereby supporting joint during movement. In short this means, that parts of your body are meant to be stable and strongly supported, and other parts are meant to have a high degree of mobility and flexibility.
If your body during a movement lacks stable support from a stabilizing joint, such as the knee, it will compensate, and try to obtain the stability form a joint e.g., the ankle, which is a mobility-joint. This of cause is not a desired way to compensate during runs, and it will inevitably lead to injuries. Even worse, you will experience the pain in a joint which is not even the root of the problem e.g., you could experience lumbar pain, if you are not flexible and mobile enough in your hips. If you then try to focus on working on making your lumbar spine stronger, you will solve nothing, and might even make the problem worse.
The mobility joints of your body are, from the ground up (When we get to mobility, you will notice that these are paired with mobility joints):
- Lumbar Spine
- Cervical Spine
In the early stages of your training plan, we encourage you to incorporate core strength and stability training, as a regular routine supplementing your runs. This is key to building an efficient and strong biomotor. For all basic members we present a level 1 and 2 basic core strength and stability routine and standard members will recieve that and a level 1 through 3 standard core and stability workout routine. These routines should be done at least two days a week, preferably 3 times a week, with at least a days rest in between. As a premium member you will get an additional level 1 through 3 core stability routines, and a comprehensible guide to putting together your own routines, either from our archive, or you can explore other resources, with a firm knowledge of what to pick look for.
More traditional strength training have been build into your structured workouts as hill runs. This can easily compensate for traditional weight training, but again you should seriously consider also making time for a traditional strength training routine as a supplement to you structured workouts. We have developed a guide for our premium members as to how such a routine should be structured and what to focus on. All premium members will be presented with level 1 through 3 supplementary strength training programs.
Flexibility And Mobility
As well as working on your core stability, it is essential that you work on your joints mobility. The pairing of mobility and stability, is the basic element in injuryprevention. As already mentioned, if you lack stability in a stability joint, the need for stability will be moved to an other linked joint, which will be a mobility joint.
This will make a mobility joint try to function as stabilizing your body, thereby creating an unwanted tension, which will lead to injuries.
The stability joints, listed from the ground up:
- Thoracic Spine
These joint have the function of making your body move easily and freely. And as with stabilizing joint, if you are not able to move freely in e.g. your hip, this motion your body will try to compensate for, by mobilizing your lumbar spine, creating a painful feeling over time.
Greater flexibility and mobility, will not only improve your running form, it will also improve the links between stabilizing and mobility joints in your body. This is also the reason that it is imparative that you work on your mobility form the very start of your training plans.
For all basic members we have included a dynamic stretching level 1 and 2 routine, which will let you work through all you mobility joints, and improve on you overall mobility and range of motion. This will increase your flexibility where it is needed and prevent your body compensating in linking joints, a compensation which will lead to injuries.
The results can be tracked on middle to high end running watches, which monitors and gives you feed back on your stride balance. An uneven run, will sometimes show up as you having a greater GCT on one of your sides opposed to the other.
With a standard membership, we will provide you with even more flexibility and mobility routines from level 1 through 3, and as always our premium members, will be introduced to an in-depth view into the mechanics of linking joints, and in addition to level 1 through 3 premium flexibility routines, we will also provide a guide to putting together your very own routine, as well as an archive of exercises targeting specific joints.
Get Into The Exercises
Get extra information about how we implement strength, speed, coordination and flexibility in your training programs. These are made as an integrated part of the structured workout, and instructions on completing the exercises can be found in these pages. As a premium member we have added some extra exercises to give you a wider variety to choose from, but still making them integrate seamlessly into your daily structured workout.