We are all runners, right?
The video below might show the very fastest runners on earth, but nevertheless, it’s a beautiful study of running form and technique that any runner can learn from.
Many recreational and club runners fall into the trap of trying to copy the technique of the elite distance runners.
The problem is that these guys, even the marathon runners, are running so much faster than most people, and their form is a product of their great speed.
If an average club runner, say a 40 to 45 minute 10k runner tries running at elite marathon pace, it’s pretty much a flat out sprint.
For example, world record marathon pace equates to 70 seconds per 400m.
Next time you are at a running track run 200m in 35 seconds. How does that feel? What do you notice about your form? Your foot strike? Height of knees?
Now, could you run 10k or even a marathon with that same technique? Of course not.
But, we can take elements of the elite runner’s form and apply it to our own running, and this video is a great example.
Look at what is happening to the feet of Bolt (or any of the others) just before ground contact.
They are already pulling backwards starting the drive phase, i.e. the feet are not moving forwards relative to the ground when they make contact.
Next time you are out running, listen and feel what your own feet are doing. Can you hear that tell-tale scuff of the foot hitting the ground, indicating it is still moving forwards? If so, there’s a tremendous amount of wasted energy on every stride. And, if this is you, spend some time on running drills to correct it. One quick and easy drill is to run with straight legs, a bit like a goose step; the feet have to move backwards on ground contact otherwise you’ll fall head first. This drill will help to educate your body to save energy when you run — it will also ensure you shoes last a bit longer too.