Now that you have the motivation down, its time to start working on actually not running like a fat squirrel!
Have you ever seen (or likely been passed by) someone who looks like a gazelle running effortlessly by while you feel like you are slogging along like a fat squirrel? The good news is…anyone can learn to run like that and I’m going to give you the secret how! (Free workout at the end)
Running as a skill
Despite popular belief, running is a skill. The way you were “born to run” is not the way that you need to continue to run. People don’t shoot a basketball underhand as adults because that’s how they were able to as a kid, so why do we think we have a pre-determined running style?!
The secret to great running is…PRACTICE!
Runners spend hours each week running, but very little time (if any) on working on running form. Maybe this is why upwards of 92%1 of runners get injured every year, with 50% of runners injured at any given time. My advice, take a small bit of time to practice your running form and focus on ways to improve it.
How to Practice
Since very few people actually practice running, there is very little out there on how to do it. I’ve got two formulas that I use to design a running practice that can help you to create your own personalized run practice.
I highly recommend that you dedicate ~30 minutes at least once a week to your running form. The off-season is a great time to do this, and if you’re tight on time then 30 minutes dedicated to your running form will be much more valuable to you then an extra 30 minutes of running.
Creating Your Personal Run Practice
There are two ways I typically do a Run Practice. In the off-season I do a separate 30 min workout on a day that I am not running.
The elements of this 30 min workout are
Running Form Drills
Run Specific Strength
In my running course I go into detail about the types of running drills and how to choose the right drill for you. I also cover a lot about running specific strengthening and core activities.
My favorite running drill to start people on is the wall drill. It is a great drill that almost anyone can find something that they need to focus on for their individual running form. I also found another great link with some videos to give you some ideas on how to get started.
(More great videos available at the bottom)
For flexibility, I have a stretching routine that I do that I call “Yoga”, but honestly it is just a series of stretches done consecutively that gets some of the most common areas runners are tight.
For mobility I do a lot of foam rolling. I highly recommend this for all runners. Here is a link to a great foam roller for under $15!*
When I start to get into my competitive season I tend to integrate my run practice into a day that I am doing an easy run. I turn run practice into a slightly longer warm-up.
The elements of this 10 min workout are:
Run Specific Muscle Activation
Running Form Drill
The running specific muscle activation is a band series that I use to wake up my Glutes. I’m a bit of a “Glute Amnesiac” (more on that in the running course), so this helps me wake them up so I’m not just taking them along for a run.
Now you know the secret and you have the tools you need to start Running Practice 1.0.
In one of the next posts I am going to talk about how to tell if your form is off. This will help you determine how to get to Running Practice 2.0, where you have things you are working on for your individual form. We will also be doing our first Fat Squirrel Bio, highlighting one of your fellow Fat Squirrel runners and following her comeback to running.
I’m also in the process of making up some Fat Squirrel T-shirts! Let me know your thoughts and ideas, and if I use your idea you will get the first t-shirt for free!
Looking for more guidance? If you are interested in seeing what I do for my 30 minute running practice, I put together some videos and instructions here to help you out. Enter your email below and you will get my Run Practice for FREE.
- Van Gent RN, Siem D, van Middelkoop M, van Os AG, Bierma-Zeinstra SMA, Koes BW. Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review. J. Sports Med. 2007;41(8):469-80; doi:10.1136/bjsm.2006.033548.
*This is an affiliate link through Amazon. There is no extra cost to you, and it will help me to print up some T-shirts!
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