Running as a Skill
The components of skilled running
Through treating many running injuries over the years, I have learned that the importance of developing the skill of running cannot be overestimated.
Like any skill, effective running relies on certain fundamental principles, namely:
Biomechanics – Ideal biomechanics for running will enable the runner to efficiently move forward (in the power plane) whilst controlling rotational forces.
Assessment of a runner’s biomechanics will examine their alignment from head to toe and differentiate what issues are structural (bony skeletal) and what are functional.
Structural alignment cannot be changed but relevant issues may need to be compensated for (for example with appropriate footwear). Functional alignment issues however can be changed with training.
Core Stability – Core stability is key for efficient running.
Global stabilising muscles which control rotational forces such as Gluteus Medius and the Abdominal Obliques are fundamental.
Also, muscles controlling hip and shoulder movement on a stable trunk for forward motion such as Gluteus Maximus and Serratus Anterior need to be efficient.
Power – The muscles in the power plane eg Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Gastrocnemius need sufficient strength to mobilise for fast sprints and endurance.
Plyometric ability, that is the ability to absorb and control jumping and landing forces, is also a component of the power demands in running.
Performance / Technique – Whilst rarely taught as a discrete skill, there is a biomechanically ideal way to run.
More efficient form and symmetrical motion will place less strain on the musculoskeletal system and result in better performance.
Video Analysis of Running form can pick up and be used as a teaching tool to correct common errors, which can include the following:
- Forward head placement
- Trunk rotation
- Trunk side lean
- Reduced trunk forward lean
- Sitting whilst running
- Asymmetrical arm swing or stride length
- Reduced heel lift
The ‘Room 4 Movement’ approach addresses these fundamental principles.
Though this approach, a runner’s performance can improve and injuries can be managed and prevented.