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Running Form

At the start of this summer, I decided to focus on running speed.  More intervals, more hill repeats, and harder tempo runs.  After the race this weekend, where I did PR in the 5K (20:40), I decided I needed to reevaluate my plans.  As I mentioned earlier this week, Mario took some great photos of just how crappy my running form is.  I have a crazy left droopy shoulder and hips that always push to the right. Every year when I pick up heavy training, an injury soon follows.  It’s inevitable.  Then I take my training inside to the elliptical and bike, recover, and start running again.  When I pick up the mileage, I find myself in the same situation.  It really is a vicious cycle and I hate it.

Running is my passion.  It makes me happy and if I can not do it, I am sad.  Of course speed is a great goal to work on, but I think I need to address my form first.  If I can stop wasting energy on bad form and swinging hips, I imagine that I will inevitably run faster. If my form is better, then (hopefully) I will encounter less injuries, which will lead to more mileage.  (And that equals a REALLY happy Tracie.)  This brings me to today’s questions…

What the heck can I do to help my running form?

The first thing I am doing is taking a chi running class on Saturday.  I’ve read many great things about this running method, and if it can help me with my form, I’m there.  Next, I need to strengthen my core.  Predawn Runner recommended doing side planks to help with the obliques.  He also has a great blog post detailing a 30 minute routine to strengthen the core and improve running form. (I’ll be doing this after I post my blog.)

I also learned quite a bit about what good form looks like from this video analysis of Chris Lieto and Craig Alexander:

I think I need to focus on strengthening my hamstrings.  Here is a great video from with some simple hamstring strengthening exercises to do at home.  (I’ll do these after my 30 minute core workout.)

I’ve never been one for running drills (obviously).  However, it seems that incorporating a few into my weekly workout routine can only help my running form.  This video demonstrates several different drills to improve speed and form:

After watching it, I realized my version of high knees is nothing like this guy’s version.  Maybe that’s why he’s a track star and I am not.  I wonder if I do these drills along with Predawn Runner’s core routine if I’ll have an 8-pack like him? Fingers crossed.

Learning ways to improve my running form is an ongoing process.  Today, this is what I’m starting with and over time, I hope to learn more.  This morning I was reading The Lore of Running and came across the “Ten Laws of Running Injuries.”  Law 6 is my goal for the summer – Treat the Cause, Not the Effect.  I will be a better runner!

I’m trying to focus on my arms and make sure they don’t swing out like batman. And see how I still lean to one side?


Form looks somewhat better than the other pics.


Thank you Mario for taking pictures in the parking lot this morning.  I’ll get it right one day 🙂


Happy Fourth of July!



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the mention Tracie. Sounds like an aggressive plan to work on the form, and I hope it pays off in reduced injuries. I usually don’t buy the “poor form” argument as an injury cause, but in a case like yours where it is repetitive, it certainly seems like it’s worth a try. I’ve found huge gains from the core routine, especially late in a workout or race – pictures of me at mile 22 or so of my last marathon show me looking relaxed and steady. But I won’t promise six-pack abs; the routine really focuses on deeper core muscles that are more important to runners.

    July 4, 2012
    • No six pack abs? Bummer! 🙂

      I definitely think that since I get injured on the same side, in the same spot, every year, it’s definitely worth getting that side straightened out. I’m on my way to do a tempo run right now and plan to follow it up with the core routine. (I didn’t get to do it yesterday because of plans for the 4th.) I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

      July 5, 2012

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