Real Fitness Equipment™ Blog
Tips To Improve Your Running Mechanics With The Real Runner™
Whether you’re looking to increase your speed and run faster, win more races, beat that new personal record of yours, or learn how to train safely in order to prevent injury, there’s always a good reason (or many reasons) to improve your running mechanics. Now, it takes time, practice and dedication in order to improve your running form, and it won’t be easy work. That being said, at The Real Runner™, we offer the fitness market a very unique and effective solution to train and work on your running form during those training off days where you’re taking a break from the high-impact stress of conventional running.
What Is The Real Runner™ And How Can It Help Me Train?
The Real Runner™ is a runner’s best friend! Actually, any athlete or anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular endurance can benefit from using our low impact cardio workout machine.
The Real Runner™ is specifically designed to develop speed and conditioning by training the muscles of the lower body in a unique and functional method. This method accurately simulates actual running and sprinting movements without the drawbacks of actually impacting the ground with each stride, which serves as the cause of pain for many people’s backs, legs, feet, knees, and so forth.
If you’re running with bad knees, you want to improve your running speed, or you just want to get in better shape overall, The Real Runner™ is the most effective solution for you. This is the only explosive resistance training device that both stimulates and strengthens the core while simultaneously activating the hip flexors.
Improving Your Running Mechanics
While The Real Runner™ accurately simulates the normal running experience, for those that still want to run and train normally, our cardio machine works great as a cross training device to help you take a break from the high impact stress of running. So for those that are still pounding the pavement with their running shoes, we’re going to dive into a few tips to help you improve your running mechanics and form. Let’s take a look.
Looking At The Runner’s Stride
At a fundamental level, the runner’s stride is actually pretty complex. It is a mix of two different energy sources: metabolic energy produced by the muscles, and elastic energy produced by tendons and other connective tissues that stretch and recoil - like a series of springs - that propel you forward as you move. A runner’s fitness level will limit the amount of energy the muscles can produce, while the functional strength of the soft tissue will dictate the most efficient way for a person to run.
So, good running form is more of a byproduct of continually improving your fitness level and functional strength as opposed to a conscious effort to employ a certain footstrike or adopt a one-size-fits-all style of running.
Run Proud And Run Tall
Well, we think that you should always run with a sense of pride and dignity (remember, no matter how far or little you run, you’re lapping everyone on the couch), but ‘running tall’ can help you improve your form. Taking a top-down approach to your running form and aligning your head, shoulders, torso, hips, and legs will promote balance within your form and allow your foot to land under your center of gravity. The best part is that this is regardless of what part of your foot actually strikes the ground first. Think of running tall as sitting up straight, in the sense that it stacks your posture properly and gives your mechanics the best opportunity to work correctly.
Running Tall Is Simple
By simply giving yourself the cue to ‘run tall’ while you’re running, you can straighten out most of your running inefficiencies that way. Additionally, incorporating various drills like straight-leg running after easy runs will encourage you to stay upright while getting more leg extension from behind and landing squarely underneath your body.
Executing Straight-Leg Running
Run forward landing on your mid-foot, keeping your legs straight and your ankles dorsiflexed, pointing upward. Making sure to not to lift your feet too high off the ground, maintain a tight torso and focus and executing a quick turnover and landing directly underneath your center of gravity. Additionally, perform two 50-meter reps as part of your warm-up routine before you set out for a run. Progress up to four as you build up your coordination.
Shorten Your Stride And Increase Your Cadence
If you make a conscious effort to shorten your stride and employ a quicker turnover, this will encourage you to land lighter. In turn, this will reduce the impact forces on your legs, regardless of how your feet strike the ground. Overall, a softer impact on the ground should lessen the likelihood of injury. Exercises like butt kicks and high knees are two effective drills that you can do that encourage a shorter stride and quicker cadence. Try and carry these out two to three times a week following easy runs as part of your warm-up for faster workouts.
Performing Butt Kicks And High Knees
To do butt kicks, use short strides, almost as if you were running in place. Lift your knees slightly and try to bring your heel directly under your butt with each stride. Alternate your legs rapidly and focus on executing a quick turnover. Perform two 15-meter reps and progress to 30-meter reps as your coordination improves.
As for high knees, run in place, lifting your knees to waist level while landing lightly on your forefoot directly underneath you. Stay tall, rigid and don’t lean too far backward or forward. Start by performing one 15-second set, progressing to two or three sets with 15 seconds of rest in between as your coordination improves over time.
Start Doing Plyometrics
Why should you start doing plyometrics? Well, by doing a series of explosive jumping exercises two to three times a week while you’re building up your running mileage, this helps to stiffen your tendons and also develops your body’s ability to make better use of the energy return from the ground. This is an important component of running fast as well as preventing your form from breaking down.
Plyometrics doesn’t have to be complicated - jump rope for 5 to 10 minutes three times a week as part of your warm-up before running. Try alternating between two-legged hops, one-legged hops, and alternating your feet.
We know that sprinting isn’t fun, and even most runners dread the fast exhaustion that comes from sprinting. Well, practicing sprinting has its benefits whether you want to do it or not. Sprinting short distances helps strengthen tendons and connective tissue while improving your basic speed and power.
One to two times a week after an easy run, practice sprinting for 10 to 15 seconds at close to top speed. Repeat this sequence 8 to 10 times with one to two minutes of recovery in between reps. Also, performing short sprints on a moderately steep hill will help you recruit more muscle fibers and accelerate gains in your tendon strength and explosiveness. Remember, run tall and stay relaxed even when you’re running fast!
Don’t Forget To Train With The Real Runner!
We truly believe that our low impact cardio workout machine is the best way for athletes, runners and people in any life situation to improve their cardiovascular endurance and get in better shape. Got questions? Get in touch with us at The Real Runner™ today.