I was fortunate enough to attend a free Good Form Running seminar at Gazelle Sports last Thursday. Andi, Mindy and I all were very interested to learn the best, most efficient and least injury-causing way to run as all of us still consider ourselves newbie runners and know we have a lot to learn.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I was nervous. I dreaded being surrounded by hardcore runners, who might give me the stink eye for being a novice. I dreaded learning that my form is terrible. I feared being told that I’m just not meant to be a runner because my right leg is longer than my right leg. Oops, did I just tell you that?
I’ve only been running for a couple years now, and I never really studied up on proper form and gear and training; I just started running and learned along the way. But I’ve begun running longer distances this year, and I completed my first half marathon last weekend; I want to learn how to run better, faster and more comfortable.
I shook off my worries pretty quickly. We all had questions and concerns, and we all were there for the same reason—to be the best runners we can be. I had nothing to be scared of.
Three Gazelle Sports employees, who all are certified Good Form Running coaches, introduced themselves and shared their experiences with the program and how it changed their running lives. They all admitted that it takes a lot of practice over several months to master the four points of the program. They all promised us that we could do it.
They introduced us to the four points of Good Form Running:
The coaches demonstrated each of the four points and ran us through a few drills to get a feel for each point. We learned that some of the four points, such as posture, usually aren’t a problem for most people, while others of the four points, such as midfoot, usually are a big problem for most people.
I started to think about my own running form and discerned that while I probably have good posture, I probably do not strike with my midfoot or have a quick enough cadence.
We headed outside to run around the store. We ran from the front of the store to the back of the store for a warm up and then, one by one, we ran about 50 meters—once in our running shoes and once in our socks or bare feet—in front of a video camera.
We went back inside the store to review our videos of us in our shoes. The coaches played them back in slow motion and stopped them on frames that showed us in the middle of our strides so they could point out our strengths and weaknesses.
I got a worse review than I thought I would. I have pretty good posture, but I apparently swing my arms across my body a bit and cause my torso to rotate at the waist. I tend to strike with my heel rather than my midfoot, but I don’t pull my toes up and put additional stress on my shins and calves.
We then reviewed our videos of us in our socks or bare feet.
I got a better review.
The coaches weren’t trying to convince us to join a tribe of barefoot runners or buy expensive barefoot running shoes from their store. They were trying to show us that our bodies’ natural tendencies force us to run one way and our shoes and other things cause us to run another way.
I left the seminar with a lot on my mind. I felt a little disappointed for having and maintaining such bad form all this time. But I also felt kind of lucky that I haven’t suffered from more pain and injuries because of my
I knew I inevitably would think about some of the tips we learned during the half marathon. I knew I probably would try to employ some of them, too. I made a point to keep tabs on my arms and not allow them to cross the center line of my body. I tried to stop my heels from hitting the ground first. I made sure to reset my posture every so often. I think it worked because I felt really, really good through the first 8 or 9 miles of the race.
All in all, I would totally recommend newbie runners and veteran runners alike find a Good Form Running clinic near them and attend. I learned a lot about myself and about running. I can’t wait to take Christopher to a seminar so he can learn the four points and we can start working on them together.