Perfect practice makes perfect !
Forgive me for not being impressed when I hear someone has twenty-five or thirty years experience in a field- what does that mean exactly? I will give them credit for tenure or longevity but that does not make them trustworthy at their craft by default. Trust has to be earned by demonstration or by ratified testimonials. If someone has been playing the guitar badly for twenty five years then they have just become really good at playing a guitar badly- similarly with coaching- there are countless coaches out there with longevity and the summary is they are masters at being terrible coaches and/or communicators.
Whether it be knitting, brick laying, auto work, pottery, singing, instrument playing or running or anything else, practice makes permanent and perfect practice makes perfect.
In terms of running, I have found in my travels as an athlete and coach that too many distance runners focus on, well, distance...It is time to change things up....it is time to strip things down and work from the ground up, it is time to work on form and technical work, even dynamic elasticity as exampled in the videos in this blog.
Connecting and synchronizing the upper and lower body with the end goal of perfecting proper ground mechanics is the goal here- to learn how to transport your body as efficiently as possible. As my former coach Greg Brock once said, " It is not always the fastest runner or the best conditioned runner who wins the race, often it is the runner who breaks down the least".
This is so true.
Set out a series of cones progressively getting further apart in distance from short to long steps and flow in to the cones (meaning no standing start) and discover the importance of a strong drive to allow you to increase flight as you place your feet down next to the ever increasing placed apart cones, allowing for plenty of deceleration time reducing the distance in steps as you decelerate with perfect form...
Think in terms of a Russian doll where the smallest doll sits inside another doll inside another doll etc, the smallest an exact replica of the largest one, just smaller....so it must be with your ground mechanics/form. The same precise technique,the only difference being the varying flight time due to differing speeds as we run, depending upon the distance we are running and racing.
Work in multi directional work to your short acceleration training and hurdle drills such as in this attached video...work both at very slow controlled speeds to improve balance and control and at high speed for improving fast twitch muscle fiber reaction and dynamic elasticity working through an exaggerated range of motion which ultimately brings economy of work and stride when running at normal relaxed speeds and include side floats (remaining tall not like an NFL Linebacker) turning into a stride for a natural momentum' foot fall' position and pretend that if someone is in front of you that they cannot see underneath your shoe as you run toward them...this will allow you to touch your foot down under your COG (center of gravity) a la a child riding a skateboard down a flat road surface. focus on being a pusher, and not pulling yourself across the surface of the planet, visualize the back legs of a Cheetah exploding behind her to drive her forward and horizontally just as you want and need to do with your COG (pelvic region)...
Work on your game
In summary, work on a small canvas, with small defined efficient steps, coordinating upper and lower body, working through an exaggerated range of motion at varying speeds but always under control to improve dynamic elasticity.
Add in coordinated breathing cadences as you complete timing drills....learn these techniques at slow and increasing paces so that when you get into hard workouts and races,your form is autonomous, allowing you to focus on strategy,pacing and race tactics and not worrying about diminishing for efficiency...
It is not about empty experience, it is about thoughtful practice, it is about perfect practice to make perfect !
For more on my coaching and coaching philosophy, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk in peace and let the good times roll !
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