Making progress at The Running School 

This week I had my 4th lesson at The Running School and as my journey started back at the end of April and I have just 2 lessons to go, I thought I’d give you a little update…

After the first session of biomechanical analysis, I learnt that my main problem with my current (now past) running technique was over-striding that caused deceleration and general inefficiency in terms of energy expenditure and muscle use. Our teacher Nick told me that this was quite a common issue with runners but thankfully easy enough to correct with a few tweaks, drills and practice.

In our first session we were filmed from both the side and back to capture and visualise our style and assess the areas that could be improved. Nick then used these to hone our technique and perfect our speed and efficiency, as well as prevent future injury.

Initially we were all given glute activation exercises to work on and I introduced these into the start of all my gym sessions and before races as part of my warm-up. I also got into the habit of standing on one leg while brushing my teeth, something that’s now just become part of my daily routine, to engage and strengthen the glutes.

After each session we were given homework, additional exercises to add into our routine and small tweaks to our technique to practice during shorter, interval-like sessions. I struggled at first to introduce a new style into my practice, but once I got over the fear of having it perfect every time and instead just broke it down into arms, leg cycle, heel to bum kick etc. it became a lot easier. I also found that I could use the drills to sharpen my technique during long runs or races when I was becoming tired. I used it as a distraction at first but over time my new technique became more and more natural and less of an arduous task.

As I’ve been learning over the last 4 sessions with 3 other fab bloggers – Elle, Marcus and Laura – I’ve noticed that although each of us has progressed and developed, we’ve done so individually. The process is very personal. Each of us had our own areas to work on but we all felt very looked after, with Nick taking care of each of our needs despite working together in a group session.

On our 3rd session we were filmed again to capture our progress at the half way stage and although I’d been listening to everything Nick had been saying and practicing when I could, I didn’t think I’d be able to see a huge difference after such a short time. I was pleasantly surprised. Comparing my “before and after” videos, Nick showed me where I had improved and how to maintain this outside the lessons in training and during races. In our latest session we focused on maintaining our technique for endurance and attempted to relax our exaggerated, corrected form so we could sustain it for a longer time. This was a lot harder than it initially sounded, but with practice and muscle memory hopefully it will mean that the honed technique will become more natural and eventually I won’t even think about it.

If you think you could benefit from advice from the experts at the Running School get in touch with Nick or Mike and tell them I sent you! or if you have any questions about the sessions or exercises comment below and I’ll try to answer it. I’m looking forward to our last two sessions, summarising what I’ve learnt and trying to maintain good technique from now on, so come back in a month or so for a catch up.

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