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A Standard of Movement
— Coach Caroline, Team RunRX
Here’s what we know for sure:
- If there was a miracle shoe that could fix your injuries, everyone would be wearing it.
- If there was a quick fix, special stretch, or even a tape that could fix your running and help you run pain free, we’d be selling it.
- If there was a magic show, magic pill, or silver bullet that helps runners protect themselves from injury, wouldn’t this be common knowledge?
Here’s the thing – we’re not selling magic here at RunRX. But, we are selling the standard of running that everyone should know, but too few people do.
The Old, Outdated, Bad Advice for Running
When most people hire a marathon trainer or a running coach they teach you:
- Push off your leg and open your stride – this actually causes issues with your hip
- Reach your foot forward – doing this will cause impact and stop forward movement of the body
- Swing your arms – this will cause you to pull back causing shoulder and back pain
Then, when you complain about the pain, you’ll be met with more bad advice:
- Ice your injury and get back out there
- Tape your foot or some other appendage
- Take an over the counter pain reliever
- Stretch more
- Buy better shoes with more cushion
- And the worst advice – run through the pain!
All of the bad advice on blogs, in running magazines, and being prescribed by well-meaning doctors such as more cushioning and taping has actually made us stop listening to our bodies. We’re masking the pain that bad running form is actually to blame for. To put it another way, we’re placing bandages on things rather than getting to the root cause and healing ourselves.
The Truth About Running:
- You don’t have to be in pain when running
- You can heal your injuries and run faster and longer distances without pain
- No shoe or pill or tape will fix bad running form
- Even physical therapists and doctors give bad advice to runners
- It doesn’t have to be so dang hard!
The biggest reason for the continued spreading of bad advice? It’s plentiful and continues to be shared because it is what most people have always known. So everyone readily accepts it – even when it’s wrong and hurts. There’s not an accepted and practiced standard of running when there should be.
Let me explain.
Any golf coach will tell you there is a correct way to effectively swing a golf club. It’s the same with a tennis coach. There is even a different way to do a forehand swing vs. a backhand swing.
So what about running?
Why is no one talking about the correct way to run?
That is the primary question that Dr. Romanov sought to answer when he came to the United States in the early 90s to work with US Olympic Athletes. He had worked in Track and Field for decades in Russia and knew that hurdlers, shot put javelin, etc… They all had a standard of movement – a way to do the move that was standard in all athletes.
In 2002, alongside Prof Tim Noakes, et al., Dr. Romanov conducted a groundbreaking scientific study that demonstrated how to reduce, by virtually 50%, the impact on the knees in running. The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises in 2004.
You are welcome to do more research on Dr.Romanov, but let me give you a high-level overview of what I have learned from 2 years of listening to everything Valerie teaches.
The Gait Cycle
The gait cycle is made up of three elements: Pose, Fall, and Pull.
This photo is from a clinic that Valerie taught. I am highlighting 4 of the runners here because you can see the difference in how we learn, we all have different rates of learning and levels of mobility and fitness.
You are not a better or worse runner, you are not an injured runner or just a jogger – you are a runner. You just need to learn the elements.
Let's start with the Pose.
Simply put, the POSE looks like a figure 4, when the non supporting leg is moving forward. Valerie explains it best:
This is the running POSE.
All runners, no matter your size or speed, pass through the running pose. You can see it when you look at these 4 runners. What makes the pose look different is the second and third elements of the gait cycle (the Fall and the Pull). Runner no. 4 is late in pulling and she will have to move her leg all the way from behind her to in front of her. But look at the other 3 and the distinct figure 4 that is created.
Let's look at how Valerie describes the FALL:
Next is the fall, and this is the fun part because it’s how you run faster without actually working any harder. We're using gravity and we're actually going to fall forward on purpose.
That's the challenge because your body doesn't want to fall. Your mind doesn't want to fall. You're not falling for fun…ever.
The idea of falling has to be practiced often so that you can get comfortable with it. It really is a mindset thing.
What’s really cool is you don’t have to be going for a run to practice your fall.
You can practice the fall by using a wall for example, as she shares in her free content. But looking at this photo you can see clearly where some runners are pushing out their hips (runner 2), pulling late (runner 4) or hesitant to fall.
Valerie says the hardest thing to teach is the fall, and the reason why is because people will not let go.
This isn’t our fault.
As children, we learn through falling, but as we get into grade school we start to become keenly aware of who we are in comparison to our peers, so we don’t want to fall on our face. This is why we are so concerned about falling when we run. But if you are able to let go, and trust in your natural ability to pull in response, you will in fact not hit the ground, but start running with 53% less impact on your joints.
Now let’s look at the PULL –
“I'm gonna pull my foot up from the ground using muscle elasticity, reducing impact on the knee by 53%, and reduces fatigue in the muscle, and gives me 50% more energy by reducing fatigue by not straining my muscles tendons”
From everything I have seen, this is the hardest for students to learn. But once they start to fall (usually around the 4-6 week point in practice) they begin to feel the fall and start working with Valerie to get this last element.
‘We want to pull our foot up from the ground ankle under the hip; recovering the pose position, because remember pose is where we can in fall from. So you always have to be pulling to Pose. So you should always be thinking, pulling that ankle right up under that hip.’
With these students you can see when they are pulling and most are either about to pull or pulling late.
Many students have trouble understanding what she means by pulling, because when you practice you pull to the knee but when you run, you are really just breaking contact with the ground and truly just pulling to the ankle.
Pulling is your ONLY job
Let's take a look at a video of a gait analysis that Valerie did for one of our students. It shows clearly what she is looking for. You can see for yourself just how much of a benefit it is to have someone watch you move, and then explain what you are and are not doing when you run.
Let me be perfectly clear – if you’re following the plans that are all over the media, and the exercises, and books that have been part of our running teaching for the last 50 years, you’re not a bad person and you might not be injured. We are really excited for you!
But if you are like me, you:
- Wish you could just go out and run for an hour and not have it wreck you for the next two days with back or shin pain.
- Want to be able to get faster without having to spend hours at the track.
- Want to get rid of pain in your feet, knees, back without going under a knife.
- Want running to not feel so HARD.
The problem is that in order to get to this point, you will have to learn how to run. This means unlearning what you’ve been doing.
You will have to start over and learn a new movement. You will have to stop doing what you've always done or you will keep getting what you always got (i.e. injuries and pain)
If this sounds too hard, and you don't want to do it, we get it. You are in the majority. But if you are tired of hurting and really want to be able to run for the rest of your life, then we hope you'll take in this information we’re sharing on running pain free.
There is a correct way to run and if you're ready to make a change – click to continue to the next page.
- There is a standard of movement for running but you have to be willing to be coachable and learn something new.
- It’s not your fault that you’ve been running this way, this standard is not mainstream… yet.