Paddy’s 2021 Mission 💚💛

Firstly Happy New Year to you all. 💚💛

It’s not the greatest start having to suspend club sessions, however, until we move out of Tier 4, pick a running buddy or run solo… “people need people”.

Now… I’m on a mission and I need your help.

I want us to be the most beautiful running club in England. This will be a long read so please stick with me (some extracts are from the book – The Lost Art of Running by Shane Benzie – it’s all about movement and is an incredible read).

So what do I mean by beautiful?
I mean running form, technique, efficiency, running beautifully. Have a think about it. If you can run 40 mins for 10k, you can easily take off a few mins if you can improve your running efficiency. Buy those carbon shoes and you’re now breaking 37 mins!

I firmly believe that 5 beautifully run miles are better than 10 inefficient ones. If we are not moving well, then we are beating up our body every time we train. In doing that, while we might still be creating a strong cardiovascular system, we are not loading our body well and, as a result, we are getting to the start of a race having just spent months punishing our body via our training plan. There are many runners who don’t move particularly efficiently but have had great success because of a strong engine. It is essential in our sport. Just imagine how much better you could be with more efficient and effective movement to go with that incredible engine!

Improving running technique is not easy, it requires us to think about it and this means more effort and this might put some people off. If you’re still reading then this is what we are going to focus on across these next 3 months.

The only way to run beautifully is to practice over and over and over and over again. Every mile we run is an opportunity to practice good running movement.

Every time we run we need to work through this list:
“What are my feet doing?”, “How am I landing?”, “What are my ankles doing?”, “Where are my knees in relation to my feet?”, “How much pressure are my quads taking?”, “How are my hips feeling?”, “Am I in the right position?”, “Do I have my chest out in front of myself?”, “What are my arms doing?”, “Where’s my neck?”, “Where’s my head?”

From the book The Lost Art of Running: “Our optimum cadence is somewhere between 175 and 185 steps per minute because this is the frequency at which our species moves when we want to join in with the creation, store and release of elastic energy. If we move at a lower cadence, there is a good possibility that a lot of this energy will be lost. The way in which we land is designed to maximise the elastic energy by optimising the energy captured and ensuring it is efficiently returned to our system using a 180 cadence. If the energy is held for too long the fascia begins to dissipate and is lost to us, a process called hysteresis. Turnover stride is therefore equally important if we wish to be “elastic runners”.

If we could learn to engage this elastic system, we could create positive energy to propel us forwards.”

As I said earlier, changing our movement is not easy, as our body is used to moving as it does and our mind is rarely engaged in a conscious analysis of how we move when running. Our mind will actively coach against us changing our movement, and as our perception of effort increases due to the focus required in engaging our brain, any new or improved movement will feel harder and less natural. We have to persevere through this challenge and become good students of our movement. We should be dynamic – adding height to our stride and not being afraid of impact (as long as we are dissipating it correctly). We have to change our mindset from a no pain, no gain attitude to a more considered one. Every mile is an opportunity to practise good movement. That way, we can focus on running well – ditch the junk miles, recover more quickly and be far more likely to remain injury free and ready to perform.

Let’s become beautiful runners – our focus is about staying relaxed, running ‘tall’ and using your facia. Look at the technique of Kipchoge and Cheptegei. I also want you to look at this runner – absolutely beautiful technique (5 min 20 secs into the video) and stunning form.

This is also a good analysis of Cheptegei:

Thanks for reading. I haven’t finished the book but it all makes sense and is something I’d like you all to spend the next 3 months focusing on at every session. 💚💛

Paddy