Training Tip Tuesday – Technique
Today’s training tip is all about technique, and what you can do to be as efficient and least likely to injure yourself as possible. As with strength, good (or poor) technique can make or break a race, and can make an ultra distance event feel so much easier if you get it right. It’s on the list of tips early because as with strength, it takes a bit of time and effort, and isn’t an overnight fix!
So what does good technique look like, and how can you practice it?
The essentials of good technique are:
- Tall, upright posture
- Stable, controlled pelvis
- Forward-backward arm drive
- Pushing off a straight back leg
- Foot landing underneath your centre of gravity, not out in front
So, how do you know if you are doing it, and how do you make a change?
The easiest way to see how you are moving is to get someone to video you – especially at the end of a run when you are a bit tired and therefore more likely to be showing any poor technique. If you can see yourself excessively leaning forward, twisting from side to side, running like you’re sitting, or anything else that makes you think you wouldn’t want that to be your race photo moment then take action!
There are some really simple drills you can do to practice good technique, strengthen the muscles that are giving up first which cause you to slip into poor movement patterns, and make yourself more aware of how you are moving:
- High knees – thigh should come up parallel to the floor, with your knee bent to 90 degrees so your foot is under it (not tucked under your bum).
- Bum kicks – kick your heel up towards your bum, aiming to keep your knee in front of you as if your foot is sliding up and down a rail on the opposite leg.
- Straight leg kicks – flick your foot out in front of you, then power back so your foot lands underneath you like you are slightly angry with the floor. Keep your knee straight so the movement comes from your hip.
You can start all of these at a walk if they are completely new to you, and break into a faster cadence when you feel ready. As you do them think about the ‘essentials of good technique’ bullet points at the top. If there is one point you can see you need to work on then concentrate on that, e.g. staying tall. You don’t need to think about everything at once! Introduce drills a little bit at a time as part of your warm up, once or twice a week and see what works for you.