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On the Fourth Day of Christmas My Run Coach Taught to Me...

Welcome to our holiday gift to you:
Twelve Days of Healthy Running Tips

On the fourth day of Christmas
my run coach taught to me:
How to Use Gravity

3 key running phases
to use my Achilles Tendons
and a proper foot strike...

Yesterday we talked about the 3 key phases to a proper, healthy running form: Pose, Fall and Pull. We also gave you a few tips on how to practice the Pose position. Today we'll cover the next phase, Fall, and how to harness a limitless supply of energy: Gravity!

Running with proper form really comes down to how efficiently you interact with gravity throughout the gait cycle. Runners who are pushing off the ground with every foot strike and pumping their knees to go faster are channeling most of their energy into moving up and down NOT moving forward.

Tips on Harnessing Gravity for the Power of Good

Yup, learning how to fall is the thing. Find a steep hill and jog down it… what happens as your jog turns into a run? You fall effortlessly, increasing your momentum until you pull back to stop yourself - or do a face-plant. The key is to get a sense of what gravity feels like when you run, what’s it’s doing and how to use it - once you do, you'll be hooked forever. Just be aware that it's completely normal for your mind to fight you on it at first - we're control freaks too, we understand.

Nobody likes to fall, Julia laughs herself stupid whenever she sees me fall - which I find quite irritating :-)  In all seriousness, you just have to practice enough that your brain gets the message that this falling thing is something that will make you a better runner. The more you use gravity, the faster you can run and more importantly for endurance runners – the less energy you use.

One of our favorite drills to teach how to fall properly is the Timber Drill in Pose. Watch the video below and try it for yourself!

Timber Drill in Pose


Here are the steps for this drill:

  1. Assume the running Pose.
  2. Let your body fall forward like a tree - timber! As always, maintain the running pose as you fall forward, keeping your support ankle loose.
  3. Catch yourself with your non-support foot, landing on the ball of your foot with your hips stable. They should not continue moving forward.
  4. Pull the other foot into the running Pose.
  5. Repeat with the other leg.

We hope these tips serve you well in your quest to become a healthier, lifelong runner! Stay tuned for more TIPS TOMORROW and we wish everyone happy holidays!! 

Keep on Running!

Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo

Pose, RRCA, USAT and ITCA Certified Coaches


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