While we are on the topic of proper form for running… Heather found this great article from Runner’s World!!! In the beginning she said she would run leaning over she didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out!
Does Form Matter?
More runners than ever before—from elites to midpackers—are talking about running technique and debating its importance. Which begs the question: Should you change your form? That depends…
By Peter Vigneron
Image by Embry Rucker
From the June 2011 issue of Runner’s World
One of the problems with sports, not least running, is that when something incredible happens, it is often hard to understand why. Still, people try.
Soon after Ryan Hall became the first American to run under 60 minutes in the half-marathon, in January 2007, sportswriters began offering opinions about his stride. The magazine Marathon & Beyond wrote that Hall was “a study in minimalism. His legs, slender and long, appear to float, rather than churn.” Outside said Hall was a “loping wolfhound in a field of shuffling terriers.” When Hall later won the 2007 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Los Angeles Magazine wrote that he was “fluid” and “rhythmic.” In 2008, just prior to the Beijing Olympics, Runner’s World profiled Hall and wrote of “the immaculate nature of his footfalls.”
To journalists, at least, Hall’s form is fluid, floating, immaculate—maybe even perfect. But recently, the elements of his form have attracted additional attention. In April 2010, two students from Peter Larson’s biology class at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire went to the Boston Marathon, where they set a high-speed camera alongside the course at mile 17.5. Hall was competing in the race, and the students recorded as Hall and a thousand other runners made their way to the Newton Hills.
Larson, an evolutionary biologist and marathoner, turned his attention to running form and stride mechanics two years ago. As a runner, he was naturally interested in what science understood about the activity—which, at that point, was limited. In the scientific literature there are two published papers on observed footstrike patterns, and one focuses exclusively on elites.
“The only other study in a race situation is from 1980,” Larson says. “It’s old data, and it’s a slow camera, so I’m a little suspicious about it.” Larson had experience with high-speed cameras, so he decided to begin recording runners on his own.
By the time Hall reached Larson’s students, he had drifted behind the lead pack and was running alone in ninth place. The high-speed camera recorded at 300 frames per second, and the video makes it possible to examine each element of Hall’s form a fraction of a second at a time. In slow motion he almost appears to bound. He keeps his upper body still, leaning slightly forward, with his back straight, his arms half dropped, and his palms open. He lands on his midfoot, not his heel. Even at 300 frames per second it is hard to tell exactly when he touches down—it is a gradual, fluid motion. At the same time, his opposite leg extends backward, drifting along behind his body until he pulls it forward and back into service. “Hall has a very distinct arm carry,” Larson says. “And while I have no data on this, my sense from looking at the videos is that he has more air time than some of the other guys.” That may explain why Hall appears to float.
Larson now uses his video of Hall when he lectures on biomechanics at Saint Anselm. “How his foot hits the ground and how his leg is oriented—in a lot of ways,” Larson says, “it’s the ideal.”
This is a really long (but interesting) article that you can continue reading by clicking here!