You may have seen clinics popping up around the U.S. in speciality running stores offering an evening workshop with something known as “Good Form Running.” What exactly is this? It is probably the most important thing a runner can do and most of the times is free. Good Form Running was started by Curt Munson and John Benedict, co-owners of Playmakers: a specialty running store in Okemos, Michigan. With over 60 years combined experience in the running industry, John and Curt used their knowledge to develop the Good Form Running clinic. It is based on the idea that running is a skill to be learned. With simplicity as its goal, GFR focuses on teaching proper mechanics that will help prevent injury and increase your efficiency as a runner. The clinic is now sponsored by New Balance, traveling across the country into other specialty running stores.
What is so significant about the form that is being taught? Nothing other then it is how we all should be running. Basically it is designed to simply “reset” our bodies and let them run the way they were designed – efficiently. John and Curt gathered with their team and looked at all of the most common traits that elite runners ran with. They broke it down bit by bit until it was very easily seen and could be taught in 4 simple steps:
2. Midfoot strike
4. Forward lean
Understanding each step is simple and can be learned very quickly. It is best learned barefoot and on a surface that is flat and free of debris. While it can be practiced on a treadmill it is much easier learned a surface as a treadmill can sometimes psychologically alter the gait.
Good form running can be learned quickly but the transition process can take time as your body will be adapting and utilizing muscles in a new manner. Typically with a transition phase, we advise implementing about 10% of a new activity to what you are currently doing. With form changing, one can typically do more then this as it is not as radical of a change. I would advise focusing on trying to maintain this form throughout your entire run. Purchasing a running metronome (click here to purchase from Amazon) or downloading a cadence MP3 (download here) for your iPod can greatly assist in the process. Your speed may significantly decrease at first while trying this, but eventually you will develop a natural stride and your speed will increase most likely to faster then that of which you were running previously as you will be more efficient.
Too often runners look toward shoe-gear to fix an injury. As I tell many of my patients when they ask me what shoe they should wear to start running – “Learn how to run, then figure out what shoe to wear.”
To learn more about Good Form Running visit www.goodformrunning.com.