The Secret Running Technique: Running Tall

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I was running today – in training for the Bay to Breakers. We fabulous women from 8 Women Dream will be competing in this marathon in May in San Francisco.  Running in the rain was exhilarating and left me with a satisfying feeling for the rest of the day.

As I was running, I began to put into play the running techniques I have been reading about. There is this running technique called Running Tall. The technique seems to be really working by making a difference in how I feel when I am running. Running tall made my running effort easier, so that I enjoyed my run in the rain.

There are a couple of different authors that talk about the Running Tall technique.

They are Run Tall Run Easy: The Ultimate Guide to Better Running Mechanics– one of my favorites – and Running Tall.Running Tall

This is what they advise is the secret to Running Tall

  • Running Tall is visualizing dangling like a puppet on a string. Reach high with the top of your head. Don’t suck in your stomach, don’t lift your shoulders – just run tall.
  • Be aware of the ground beneath your feet. Think of walking tall by using the upward thrust from the ground in response to your body weight.

They further advise –

  • We should always begin our run with a warm up. When you are a beginner – like most of us in 8 Women Dream – we should walk the first two hundred yards. As we run, we should allow our arms to swing like pendulums from our shoulder joints, with our arms tucked in close to our body and relaxed.
  • Our bodies should be straight.
  • We should hold our head so our ear sits directly over the middle of our shoulder. This might seem awkward, but it is precisely how we should be and the visualization of this should help keep our shoulders aligned.
  • Allow the arms to bend at the elbow and keep them swinging in a linear motion. Think of the legs swinging from the hips and raise the legs with the knee leading the move.
  • Once the knee has been raised, the lower leg can be allowed to swing through. The common kicking action of most runners increases the workload on the quadriceps and is unnecessary and drastically reduces the efficiency of your running technique.
  • Be conscious of the hip, knee and ankle joints working together in the movement. As with walking tall, think of running tall to utilize the force of gravity. This may sound a little strange initially but the ground is where the force comes from that moves us forward. We need to be wary of trying to hold our self up to achieve an upright position. If we can remove unnecessary effort, our body will attain an effortless upright stance due to the absence of inappropriate muscular activity.
  • We do not want to allow our heel to strike the ground first, this causes a jolt up our leg and reduces the efficiency of our leg joints. Our foot should land anywhere between the ball and the middle of our sole. This allows for a “springier” action and gets a better push up from the floor.
  • Our objective is to observe our running technique and look for places where we make it harder than it should be. Before moving up to a running pace, we need to see if when starting to prepare for the effort are are holding our breath or stiffening our neck. We will try to make the transition from walking to running without additional effort.

Some exercises to perform would be to –

  1. Stand flush against a wall, heels, buttocks, back, neck, and head all pressing back. This stretches the muscles and makes it easier to adopt a proper posture.
  2. Another exercise to perform is to touch your chin to your chest, bending your head backward and looking, trying to touch your ears to your shoulders, and turning to look over both shoulders. Hold each position for five to ten seconds.

Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running: The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance (Runner's World Complete Books)
There are different training programs that can be used to help train for running this race. SF Marathon, and SF Road Runners Club, are just a couple of them. And they are all ready and willing to train anyone for this race. Being frugal I chose a couple of good books from Amazon.com.

As I stated earlier, I have been out on the web reading many different posts about the Bay to Breakers.

One fine person suggested that we not worry about the hill as it is such a short part of the race, “Just listen to the music and just time your stride to the beat.”

Veronica

Veronica rotated off 8 Women Dream in December of 2010 after achieving 2 dreams.

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  • Gabby

    This has been an interesting post, thanks for providing the information, it’s really helped me with my training plan for the Bay to Breakers. I keep coming back each week to see what you will write next. I love the theme and colors of your blog too!

  • You go girl!!! Keep “running tall!”

    Hugs,
    Lisa

  • Kim, the traveler

    I can’t run, but I can walk hills. Now the rain needs to let up so I can go do it!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I want you to know that I thought about this all weekend and it helped motivate me to walk – more of a walk-run and I am SORE!! Thanks Veronica for the much needed motivation!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Great post Veronica. I am going to go out walking today and try to feel better from being sick for a month. There’s blue sky and I want to feel the sun!

  • Remy G

    Great post! I took the dogs out for the morning walk, and we did 2.1 miles. They kept looking back at me like “wow, are we really walking over HERE?” It was fun. I like the Run Tall idea…and your post with the training schedules on it was great. I’m about a week in, starting to feel good. Rem

  • Rachel

    Nice post. I love that you chose that “running tall” technique to highlight. It brings back good memories. If your body can take it (much more likely if you use good form), running can be such a pleasure.