Spending a Moment on Running Biomechanics

Last post I mentioned doing a negative split run, based on the training principles of Arthur Lydiard. In doing this run, I’ve been giving attention to lifting my knees a bit higher on the second half of the run. In doing this, I was able to negatively split this run fairly comfortably.

HOWEVER, upon re-reading The Runner's Body by Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas, I discovered my focussing on knee lift MAY NOT be the proper biomechanic queueing technique to follow!

Tucker and Dugas mention, “The problem is that driving forward with the knees is actually counterproductive. It usually results in overstriding, artificially increasing stride length by “bounding”... The energy cost of bounding is enormous, consuming substantially more energy than normal running.”

They describe a better running technique as, “Instead of trying to lift your knees, think about lifting your feet off the ground. Far from being revolutionary, however, it’s common sense and is seen in the running style of most elite runners, who perform a “heel flick” at the top of the stride.”

To work on the heel flick, they suggest, “Don’t simply head out and force your cadence higher during your normal 6-mile loop. Our advice is to build short sections of stride-rate training into your sessions, particularly speed work sets, in which you can recover between intervals. For example after completing a 1 mile easy jogging warm-up, run 4 to 6 “strides” of 100 yards at a moderately fast pace, concentrating on running lightly with fast turnover. Rest for 30 seconds between strides. After completing your strides, move into the main body of your speed workout.”

In the end, I’m going to give the heel flick a try. Thanks for reading. Drop me a line to let me know what your take is on this running biomechanic adjustment!