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

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

On the fifth day of Christmas
my run coach taught to me:
Recruit My Hamstrings
how to use gravity
3 key running phases
to use my Achilles tendons
and a proper foot strike...

By now, dedicated readers of this blog will agree that a healthy running form is comprised of 3 key running phases: Pose position, falling, and pulling. We've covered Pose and Fall previously, so today we'll cover the most enjoyable phase of them all: Pull! How exactly do we pull? By recruiting our hamstrings.

Most of us have been taught that we should use those strong quad muscles to drive the knee forward when we run. Right? That's why most of our clients have underdeveloped hamstrings relative to their ripped quads :-)

It's clear that when we watch videos of professional sprinters like Usain Bolt they are really pumping those knees and using those quads, isn't it?  

Not really... in fact, Usain Bolt is a perfect Pose runner - we've done the video analysis. What makes him so fast is his angle of falling and the fact that he is pulling his feet off the ground with his hamstrings versus driving his knee forward with his quads.

That's right, forward movement is accomplished by pulling your support foot off the ground at the end of the falling phase, before your lead foot lands again in the Pose position. This action launches you into the flight phase, when both legs are off the ground - and the flight phase is the most enjoyable place to be! 

Tips on Recruiting Your Hamstrings

One of our favorite drills to teach how to pull properly and recruit those hamstrings is the Change of Support Drill. Watch the video below and try it for yourself!

Change of Support Drill

These are the steps for practicing the Change of Support Drill:

  1. Start in the running Pose standing on your left leg, focusing on how you will be lifting your left foot off the ground and under the hip before the other foot drops.
  2. Head, shoulders, hip and feet are aligned, while the left foot is slightly on its ball. Make sure you are looking out at the horizon and not down.
  3. PULL up your left foot quickly under your hip while the right foot is still in the air, shifting your weight toward your right leg to catch yourself.
  4. As you change support, lift your shoulders to help unload body weight. It may help to perform a subtle hop to initiate pulling.
  5. Letting your right leg naturally drop to the ground with no muscular effort, land on the ball of your foot in perfect Pose position.
  6. Repeat with your 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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