Let’s talk about form

Part 2 in a series on form

Ok Bubbah, you’ve been patient .  Now I want to fill in the details .

Before I start out, let me say one thing; if you’re getting out and running and enjoying yourself then don’t obsess about form.  If it’s working for you, hey, that’s perfect.  I don’t mean to form-shame anyone.  I certainly don’t have perfect form. 

But, if you want to learn more form.  Let’s talk. 

I always worry about this because it is so holistic.  There are so many moving pieces – it s like juggling octopi. 

But – we will progress.  The other point worth mentioning is there are a bunch of interconnected movements here and there is really no precedence in what sequence to work them.  Most coaches start with foot strike and posture, so that’s where we are going to start. 

Foot strike – This is when, where and how often your foot hits the ground.  Let’s talk about ‘how often’.

Cadence: In your running form there is a certain frequency to your foot strike.  It is 180 hits per minute.  That’s the magic number.  That’s the cadence.  Plus or minus 2 hits per minute. 

Like everything else that may vary slightly from runner to runner, but overall this number is pretty solid.  When I count my cadence it is usually a bit low, in the 170’s.  When I’m doing speed work it might be a bit fast.  Uphill, downhill, it varies, but somewhere around 180 is a good number.

Bump   Bump    Bump   That’s the cadence.  Burn it in.  Bump   Bump   Bump

There are different ways to count your cadence.  Newer GPS watches come with a foot-pod accessory that you can stick in your shoe and it will count your cadence for you as part of the data. 

The easy way is to just look at your watch, or phone, note the time and count each time your right or left foot hits the ground. At the end of the minute multiply that by 2. There’s your cadence.

There is also a ton of music you can get, and even a metronome app that will give you a 180 count you can practice with. 

When you first time your cadence you’ll typically find that you are too slow.  It’s seldom too fast. The reason your cadence is too slow is because you are over-striding. What does that mean?  It means you’re reaching out too far in front with your leading foot and dwelling too long in the transition.

Which is a nice segue into next bit of running form in the foot strike itself.  

You want to pull your form upright and forward so that your center of gravity is slightly forward of your foot strike. 

Your center of gravity should be slightly forward of your foot strike. 

Where is your center of gravity? It’s in your core.   In your torso.  You want to push that center of gravity out in front of you so that you are falling forward.  You are falling and you are catching yourself as you are falling. 

The way you push your center of gravity forward is by pushing your hips forward.    Imagine that there is a rope tied to your belly button and it is pulling you forward.  Push those hips forward.   Move that torso so it is falling forward. 

Then your feet have to keep up with that forward fall.  This almost forces you to land on the forefoot.  That space right behind the toes.  You feel the foot hit the ground, but since you are falling you flow through that foot strike and kick it up behind.

Fast, hot feet.  Bump bump  bump.

No lingering on the foot strike.  Bump bump bump.

A great mantra here is “Light Feet” or “Run Lightly” this will remind you to loosen up, run tall and maintain fast cadence.

Fall through the foot strike.  

Push those hips forward. 

Move those feet quickly. 

Bump bump bump.

Think about your torso.   When your hips are pushed forward that automatically straightens up your posture.

You should be, in the words of running coaches “Running tall”. 

Don’t slump forward. Straighten up your shoulders.  High and square.  Light and relaxed. 

Let all that tension release out of your back and shoulders. 

It’s all being pulled along by the hips. 

Bring your head up.  Look forward.  Relax your chin.  Smile.   Breathe.  In through the nose.  Out through the mouth.  

What do you do with your hands?

Bring your hands up lightly to your chest.  Elbows at 90 degrees and slightly pushed back behind you.  Straight back and forward in rhythm with your quick stride. 

Hold your hands lightly and open, high and close to your chest. 

Quiet your arms and hands. 

Don’t swing or pump.  Just quiet.  High and quiet.  light and quiet.

Bump Bump Bump. 

In your mind imagine a string that runs down your spine and pulls you upright.  Though the top of your head.  Run tall.  Hips forward.

Bump Bump bump. 

Forefoot strike.

Hot feet.

Bump Bump Bump. 

Light feet.

Fast feet. 

Tall and strong. 

Relax into this form. 

Tall and strong. 

When you get into the right spot there is no wasted energy.  There is no pushing off.  You are falling easily down the trails with you light, fast, feet catching you. 

That’s good running form. 

Next time we’ll talk about some of the “Why do you care?” moments for running form.  Like in races. 

Last time I asked you to look at the form of good runners and make a mental note of what that looks like.  I also asked you to have someone video your own form so you can see the difference. 

This week I’m going to ask you to pay attention when you’re out running with other people.  If you have a running group take a look at the various ways people run. 

Better yet, if you are in or watching a race watch what happens to people’s form at the end. When they get tired what happens?

This is fun right?


Direct download: 4413-Form.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:38pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-413 – Morgan Writes in the Wilderness

(Audio: link) audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi4413.mp3]
Link epi4413.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

Hello, my friends and welcome to episode 4-413 of the RunRunLive Podcast.   We’ve got a great show for you-all today.

A couple weeks ago I interviewed Morgan.   I really enjoyed the interview.  You’ll hear the story in the conversation, but the brief version is that I get the privilege to read a lot of books by athletes, and seldom does the writing do justice to the story.

In most cases there is just too much exposition and too much linear narrative.  Morgan’s book, “Outlandish” is the exception.  She is good at her craft. And I dig that. 

Also, note that about 17 minutes into the interview my phone crapped out and we had to reconnect to finish it.

In section one I’ll give you a nice stand-alone audio on good running form.  I’ll also post it as a separate file so that you can have it to listen to independently when you’re out and about on your feet.

In section two I’m going to finish talking through the “Happiness Curve” which I completed last week while traveling. 

It has been an action-packed couple weeks since we last talked. 

I knocked off 16 miles with my Sunday-Morning Buddies on that one Sunday that was really hot and humid.  It was pretty awful.  I got home, took a shower and immediately napped for 2 hours.  I fought through it though and that was a good confidence builder.

I was down in Memphis at a client last week, (the week of the 21st of July 2019 – for those of you who are time traveling – or are interested aliens from another dimension and need a way-point). 

I got a couple decent runs in on the sidewalks.  

Had some dicey travel coming back and didn’t end up getting to bed until 4:00 AM on Friday morning. But, of course I was still at work at 9:00!  

Then Saturday, Yvonne and I drove out to North Central PA to meet up with Greg to pace the Conquer the Canyon ½ marathon.

I know what you’re saying, “this is normal Chris stuff”, but wait for it…

The big news is that we stopped to see a puppy litter on our way and came home with a new puppy! 

Yup, an eight-week border collie. 

I don’t know what I was thinking.  It’s like having a new baby in the house.  He’s starting to settle in now, but he’s a terror.   God help us.  As I am editing this sitting on the steps in my front yard he wasthrowing up some grass he just ate, now he’s rolling in it.  And...managing to be cute as hell in the process…

Oh, and I picked up a cold traveling.  So I lost some more training time and the continuous sleep deprivation doesn’t help at all!

I’m still a bit of a train wreck in my training…or should that be ‘training wreck’.

I’ll give you a story.  I posted a workout to Instagram.  One of my runs down in Memphis.  Nothing special just a sidewalk 8 miler out and back.  And one of the comments was that’s a pretty good pace and distance…wait for it… for a guy your age!  That’s it.  I’ve entered the “for a guy your age” club! 

And, because my expectations are exceeding low, I’m happy with that.

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about Stamps.com or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do have a membership option where you can become a member and as a special thank you, you will get access to member’s only audio. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

  • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!

Links are in the show notes and at RunRunLive.com

Become a member

Section one – Form series Chapter Two - http://runrunlive.com/lets-talk-about-form


Voices of reason – the conversation

Morgan Sjogren


Morgan Sjogren (“SHOW gren”) is a writer, adventurer, and former elite track athlete turned avid trail runner. A lifelong competitive runner, Morgan has raced sprints on the track to ultramarathons in the mountains, yet she prefers using running as a vehicle to explore wild places.

Her writing focuses on human-powered adventure, public lands, conservation, history, travel and food. Find her writing and photography published by REI, Runner’s World, Trail Runner, Patagonia, Archaeology Southwest, Sidetracked, Gear Junkie, Snowsports Industries America (SIA), The Gulch and Adventure Pro.

Sjogren is the author of three books. The Best Bears Ears National Monument Hikes, the first guidebook devoted to the National Monument. Her forthcoming guidebook, The Best Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Hikes releases this year. Both are focused on educating the public to visit their lands with a conservation mindset.

Outlandish is a sun-soaked starter manual to fueling your own epic. Through her riveting ersonal stories, flavorful recipes, and the book’s gotta-go-there photographs, Sjogren shares her advice and lessons learned from years exploring the desert Southwest while living out of her canary-yellow Jeep Wrangler. Outlandish is a gorgeous guide to a more adventurous life.

Section two – The Happiness Curve Final cut– http://runrunlive.com/the-happiness-curve-wrap-up




Well, my friends, you packed your jeep with burritos and set out into the wastes for a long, soul searching, run and found yourself at the end of the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-413,

Was it cathartic?

For the conquer the canyon ½ marathon,  I met Greg and was official alternate pacer for the 2:00 hour group.  It was fun to be able to coach people along and help them get through the race. 

The key difference when you’re pacing is that you aren’t going very hard, so you can help others.  That’s good, right?  That’s sharing some of that wisdom.  If you’re heads down racing you don’t have the bandwidth to help other runners. 

It was a pretty, wooded course along a packed gravel rail trail that follows a river through a canyon.  No hills.  Kind footing.  Decent scenery.  We had a bald eagle watching us at one point.

I think the best part about pacing is that people come up to you afterwards and thank you for helping them.  That’s cool, when someone thanks you for getting them through the rough spot and thanks you for getting them a PR. 

And there you go, one of the keys to happiness: helping others. 

My mileage has been pretty low.  I’m getting out 3 days a week.  I still feel that mountain bike dinger in my knee.  I rehabbed the hamstring pull I gave myself in that 5k a couple weeks ago.  And I’m just about through the other side of the airplane cold I caught traveling last week. 

I’ve been doing 3 sessions a week of high-hamstring tendinosis exercises.  Trying to get my glutes and hips strong.  It’s a couple sets of hip bridges, a couple sets of clamshells, and a couple sets of planks.  In between sets I do pushups and incline situps – so I’m keeping a bit of core strength.  I figure if I can still do a hundred pushups and 200 situps I can’t be that out of shape, right?

Next up for me is pacing Eric at Leadville in a couple weeks. Good thing I’m picking him up at 50 miles!  I have no doubt I can muscle through some Rocky Mountain High miles at 3.5 miles per hour. 

I did a night run last night over to the ski area next to my house.  I ran over and did the ski hill, hike up, run down, hike up, run down – ended up with 10+ miles and about 2,00 feet of climbing.  At this ski area they have a tiki bar in the summer months with bad cover bands and the like.  

The bouncers rode over on a golf cart to see what I was up to.  They could see my lights going up and down the mountain.  Told them I was training.  They weren’t happy but they went away.  I guess it might not make sense to see and old guy humping up and down the double diamond late at night.

Then I got up early this morning and ran part of the Wapack with Paul.   That was perfect.  Doing those technical mountains on tired legs was just the ticket.    

I’ll tell you a couple more stories to take you out. 

First, was on the plane flying back.  I sit next to this guy, maybe a couple years younger than me.  Looks a bit squirrely, a bit nervous, so I ask him where he’s going.  Turns out he’s going to Boston to meet his daughter who he hasn’t seen in 21 years, since she was 4 years old. 

Felt like I had stumbled into a reality TV show!

His story was that he had a drinking problem, left them and moved to California. Now he’s cleaned up and the ex-wife had orchestrated the reunion.  No wonder he was nervous.

I told him to not worry about the past and just be in the moment and this isn’t about him, and he’s going to do great.   Wish I could be a fly on that wall. 

Then, final story, I’m at this brewery with Tim and Frank, two of my running buddies, in Lowell, catching up.  They let people bring their dogs in to this brewery.  It’s all very Bohemian.  Bit of a hole in the wall.  I dig it. 

I’m at the bar saying hi to this big goofy pit bull and there’s a guy there, bit older than me.

He leans down to pet the dog, turns to me and says “A lot of times they’re afraid of me because they can smell the cancer.” 

How do you respond to something like that? 

Luckily, I happen to know everything, so I said, “You know, I’ve heard about that.”

People are funny.  I was out at the race last week and no one said “Hey, you’re that guy!” and no one asked me how many marathons I’d done. I didn’t wear any Boston gear.  I was basically anonymous. 

It was a different crowd. It wasn’t about me. 

If you want to be popular at a race, ask people about their accomplishments, ask them about their stories, listen intently, and then congratulate them when they tell you.

Everybody has stories. 

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/



Rachel -> http://www.nextlevelnutrition.fitness/contact-appointment/

Coach Jeff -> https://dailyfitbook.com/


Direct download: epi4413.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT





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