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Running Clinic for Good Form

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Sunday I attended a Good Form Running Clinic at my running store. WOW, it was so informative. I am so glad that I found this. Often we think that running is left, right, repeat. The more miles I have been logging while training for my upcoming Half Marathon; the more I would think about my running form. I tried to concentrate on my strike and figure out if I ran with a heel strike or a mid-foot strike. I couldn't tell, but was leaning towards the thought that I was a mid-foot striker.

Towards the beginning of the class we were video taped running in our running shoes and then again running in our bare feet. The instructor then went through the 4 important things for good form running. 1. Posture, 2. Mid-foot strike, 3, Cadence, 4. Lean.

1. Posture - When running we should have good posture, with arms bent at 90 degrees. The arms should swing from the shoulders and should not cross the center line of your body; moving from hip to mid-chest. Hands should be loose, cupped as if you were holding ski poles. He said that may people when they run stick their butts out. To correct this lift your hands straight over your head. This straightens your spine an pulls your hips back in. You can do this mid run, when you feel your posture slipping. Either while running, or stop and re-set.

2. Mid-Foot strike - To have a mid-foot strike your foot should land underneath you. This gives your knee joint a lot of support and minimizes injury. If you heel strike, your foot is out in front of you and your leg tends to lock, leaving you more prone to knee and hip injuries. WIth a mid-foot strike your stride is mostly behind you.

3. Cadence - The target cadence is 180 per min. This can be measured using a metronome which can be downloaded as an app on your phone. I don't carry anything when I run and another option was offered. When you are running, count how many times one foot hits the ground in 30 seconds. To have a 180 cadence, you should come up with 45 (45 X 2 feet = 90 X 2 (to make a minute) = 180). This cadence promotes a short, quick stride and a mid-foot strike.

4. Lean - For good form running, we should be leaning from our ankles. Do not lean just the upper body. Leaning from the hips promotes sticking out your butt. Leaning from the ankles keeps your body in line, promotes forward motion and keeps your feet under you.

They then showed video of some of the best runners in the world. After what we learned it was fascinating watching the professionals run. There were all different forms. Even some of the top runners, flail around. Just think what they could do with good form.

Watching our video was interesting. I have never seen myself run before. I am a mild heel striker. Yes, a heel striker not a mid-foot striker, and not balanced. I hit stronger on my right side. Of course one person in class had nearly perfect form. Besides just seeing ourselves it was good to see what everyone else was doing. The reason they had us run barefoot, is that we tend to run with a mid-foot strike when we are barefoot. We do not have the protection of the shoe. Although he is a proponent of minimal/barefoot running, he said that the goal was to get us to run as if we were barefoot, in our running shoes.

Yesterday, I went out for a 6 mile run and concentrated on the 4 points of good form. My arm positioning had been good, I just needed to adjust how I held my hands. This was fairly easy to remember throughout my run. I think I was doing better on a mid-foot strike. I shortened my stride and felt as if my feet were under me. I felt my stride move behind me, instead of in front of me. Leaning... I think I was. Cadence... after a short warm up I counted my right foot strikes for 30 seconds. I came in right at 44/45, so I counted a few more times. I had been tired when I started the run and it was very humid out, as it had been raining all day. I could feel my cadence slipping, so a few other times during the run I counted. It took a lot of concentration to work on changing my form. I felt like I was running slower (with the stride behind me), but I had a faster time than I had been running on my training runs. Could I be running more efficiently? Maybe. I have 2.5 weeks until my HM. I will keep concentrating on good form and see if I can make it feel more natural before my race.

There is a website that the class was based upon. If you are interested in checking it out, you can find it at:

Happy Running!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_NY 10/20/2011 12:52PM

    Good stuff! Other that what's been necessary to learn for protecting my hip, I hadn't thought about other aspects of form since high school, lol. Thanks for sharing- I'll be putting this to work tonight!

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/20/2011 12:05PM

    This was really helpful, I am just reading it now. Thanks so much for sharing what you learned!!

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LMLOPEZ 9/16/2011 4:46PM

    Thanks Hope-used these tips today for my run because I know my form is not good; what a help!! Felt better and better for the knees.

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AGASSIFAN 9/6/2011 9:01AM

    Scary topic....but I shall try to be a mid foot striker!!!!

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HAPPYJENNI 8/27/2011 8:09PM

    Thank you for sharing! Very helpful and concise info!!

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MSMIL32 8/26/2011 12:36PM

  Thanks for a good blog! I'm trying to perfect my form too, and the more i learn about good form, the more i realize how bad my natural form is/was. Pretty much make every running mistake there is to make except for slouching. So, I'm working on it, but i'm finding that it is really hard and feels really strange to run the 'right' way. So for the time being, i just am doing 'right way' and 'wrong way' intervals, lol. I figure running the wrong way is still more beneficial than walking. And i am trying a little bit of barefoot running too, but i feel like that is majorly straining my plantar facia, so i'm taking that pretty slow. Just a mile on the treadmill every other day.

I really really have to keep my eyes peeled for a clinic. Who knows maybe what i think is the 'right way' is also all wrong. Either which way, i am enjoying my training and that's the whole point.

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COOPSM 8/24/2011 9:46PM

    Great info!!!

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LOGOULD 8/24/2011 8:09PM

    I went to a very similar (if not the same) presentation a couple of months ago. I did try for a couple of runs to adjust my form, specifically to increase the cadence and work more on mid foot strike. My time did improve greatly also, but I discovered tht I was utilizing a whole different set of muscles, so decided to wait until after my halfs this fall to try to work on changing my form and make that my winter time project. We'll see how that goes.

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TYKXBOY 8/24/2011 7:16PM

    Thank you for this blog! Very interesting to read in more depth about good running posture. I was noticing this morning that at the beginning of my run I had a good mid-foot strike, however, after some speed-work, at the end of my run I was tired and leaning backwards into a heel strike. Reading your blog, that could explain why my knees tend to get sore towards the ends of my runs - my form must slip! Thank you fro this information. Very useful! I hope it serves you well in your training and upcoming half marathon.

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Walk away from the drama

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYANDREA2012 8/20/2011 10:43AM

    I agree with you!!!! How are you doing? How are you feeling? I have been missing you and your posts so much!!! I hope that you are OK and that we will be able to chat soon.

(((((((BIG HUGS TO YOU))))))), Carmen emoticon

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AGASSIFAN 8/19/2011 1:43PM

    emoticon...Sure know life is a lot easier when you do this....


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CBAILEYC 8/19/2011 10:57AM


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BOBINVA 8/19/2011 9:13AM


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LOGOULD 8/19/2011 7:38AM

    It's a tough lesson to learn, but oh so valuable. I've made that a part of my "healthy living lifestyle" too, and much like nutrition or fitness, sometimes I do better at it than other times, but it is progress not perfection and it is becomng a more natural part of my life.

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TRIXIEBLUE 8/19/2011 6:56AM

    This is a very good point, unfortunately some of us don't learn that fact as quickly as others. I hope what ever drama is causing you to write this blog is over with and things are back to normal!

Hugs Trixie!

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PANBOOKS 8/19/2011 4:10AM

    I agree wih you wholeheartedly - thanks for sharing this!

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ERLYWA 8/19/2011 1:08AM

    Beautiful. It reminds me of a quote I recently came across when searching for the photos/quotes I put at the end of my blogs:

"Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you." John Rohn

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TWOCANS 8/18/2011 11:49PM

    SO true.....

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TURBOFIRE 8/18/2011 11:17PM


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SUSIESEWSEW 8/18/2011 11:07PM

    This is a tough, but very healthy thing to do. Great job - one day at a time...

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Fleet Feet's Women's 5K + 10K - 7/17/11

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yesterday was the fifth time I ran in Fleet Feet's Women's 10K/5K. First of all let me say that Fleet Feet Sports is a great running store based in Chicago and their races are always well organized. Their Women's race is the largest 5K and 10K race in the Midwest for Women. This year there were 2,634 women lined up at the start line.

The weekend prior was quite hot, and I was so excited to hear that we would drop down to the 70s by Thursday. Well we know how that goes, what comes down can go back up again. Saturday morning we were entering the second day of a week long heat wave. Highs were up in the 90s with high humidity. The day before the race Fleet Feet sent out an e-mail warning of the high temps, with tips for running in hot weather and offering any one signed up for the 10K to run the 5K instead if they would like. When I woke up the temperature was already in the low 80s, with no cloud cover. I stayed at home in the a/c as long as possible having a leisurely early morning. I happen to live very close, so at 7:15am I headed out the door and jogged to the start line. With 8 minutes to spare I headed to the port-a-potties, however the lines were so long I wasn't going to make it in time. I turned around towards the start line and pondered where I should start. I settled in with the 9:30 pace group. There is a lot of energy at the start of any race, but there is something about standing with 2,633 women ready to run together. The 5K and 10K runners all start together.

The starting horn blew and we were off. We started off heading north on a wide street that runs through the park. Most of the runners stayed in the right lane of the street, so I moved out to the left lane and hung at the left edge of the runners. It was hot already, so I didn't want to go out too fast. I knew the terrain well as most of the course was on my usual running trails. At the one mile mark it looks like I am at a 9 min mlle pace. Shortly after the first mile the course has a tight turn to the right and runs parallel to the 1st mile trail, heading south. The 1st hydration station was just after the turn and I grab a water. For the second mile the course runs along the shore of Lake Michigan on the left. The other great scene was to the right, seeing the path filled with the runners on mile one. Mile 2 looks like I kept the 9 min pace. Heading into mile 3 we cross back over to the main activity path, where I always run. The sun is getting higher and I can feel the heat beating down. In mile 3 I come across the second hydration station. I've been sweating a lot and I grab a gatorade and a water. I wanted to pour the water over my head, but i remember last year. When I did that, I ended up with chafing on the sides of my jogbra and I felt like I was running in diapers the rest of the race.. The water went down my back and settled into my running shorts. Neither situation pleasant at all. Shortly before the end of mile 3 we pass the exit to my home. I looked at it longingly. Mile 3 looks like I've slowed to a 10 min pace.

The next 3 miles are in the beating sun and the temps are raising as well as the humidity. My heart rate was rising also, but I kept pushing through. I didn't stop at the 3rd and 4th hydration stations. I had to pee so badly, I just wanted to make it to the finish. As I came into the 5th mile my heart rate was raising into the 180s. I normally run between 155 - 165. I know I am working hard to run through the heat, but I feel ok overall. My pace on the last 3 miles seems to vary between 9 and 10 mins. When I was close to the end of the 6th mile I wanted to kick it in really hard for the end, but my heart rate had risen to 193 and I thought I should take it a little easier. I picked up the pace a little and made it across the finish line. Just beyond the finish they had four large fans blowing cool mist. When one of the guys manning the fans saw me he pulled me in front of the fans. Did I really look that bad? Boy they felt good! After the fans there was bottled water, bananas and popsicles. Cold, frozen popsicles. Mmmmmmm.

Official results came in today:
FInish time 58:18 (a PR)
Overall placement in the 10K: 339 out of 1318
Overall Placement in my age group: 32 out of 133*

*post note: I am at the upper age in my age group. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMLOPEZ 7/27/2011 3:24PM

    Hope, way to go with the PR!! I prefer hot humid weather but running a 10K might be a little too much with what we've been experiencing. Beautiful scenery and great company make it so much better!
emoticon emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 7/23/2011 6:58PM

    Great job Hope!!!!!!!!!!!! You are an inspiration!

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    Wow that is amazing!!! How awesome for a PR!!

I am so terrified to run more than a mile or two in the heat since I tend to over heat pretty easy. This post gives me hope that I can toughen up and do it.

Congrats again!

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DENRNAJ 7/19/2011 4:35AM

    Wonderful! We have a Fleet Feet also and that's the reason that I started to run. What a great group of people. You rocked that run!

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LOGOULD 7/18/2011 10:46PM

    Oh My GOODNESS - you did AWESOME!!!....and in that heat?!?! All I can say is WOW! CONGRATULATIONS! I'm impressed!

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SHARON-MARIE 7/18/2011 7:53PM


This was interesting to read, Hope!

Glad you made it through the heat with no problems.

Be blessed,

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First Bike Ride of the Year

Saturday, May 07, 2011

In Chicago some people do ride their bicycles year round. I walk and run outdoors all year long, but I am a summer rider. Today we had temps in the high 60s and i added air to my bicycle tires yesterday. I called a friend to see if they wanted to join me on the Bike The Drive. On May 29th Lake Shore Drive, which separates the shores of Lake Michigan and the City of Chicago, will be shut down to automobiles and 30 miles will be opened to bicycles, for the morning. My friend agreed to join me for Bike The Drive and suggested that we go out for a ride tonight.

Around 6:45 I met a couple of friends out on the lakefront bike path and we embarked on a ride. It felt so good to get out there that we ended up riding for 14.5 miles. Not bad for a first ride of the season. I don't think I will sit on that bike seat tomorrow though. We hit some really bumpy areas.

For those that have bicycles happy riding this summer! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AGASSIFAN 9/6/2011 9:02AM

    BUMPS happen!!!! emoticon

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JUST-AMY 5/7/2011 8:06PM

    Sounds so nice! I live in mid-Missouri, and we have had warmer temps for awhile, but I avoid outdoors during the high-allergy season. Now the locust trees are blooming. I am jealous! I will be pedaling, soon, though!

Love the background of your page--where is it? Can you tell me more? That is stunning!

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FRIENDOFBACH 5/7/2011 1:05AM

  Boy, am I jealous

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KITHKINCAID 5/7/2011 12:56AM

    Hurray! Happy riding!

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Coffee or a Run

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This afternoon I found my self falling asleep while working on my computer. I had gotten up early and walked to the gym for an hour of bootcamp from a Fitness Coach, walking back home after. All day I was a little tired and in the late afternoon I was thinking of making some coffee. It was so sunny out and a gorgeous Spring day, which drew my attention to outdoors. Instead of a comforting warm cup of coffee I decided to go for a run. As I was about the exit the front door, i was still questioning myself as to what i was doing, but out I went. I wouldn't call it a good run; I felt a little sluggish, but I pushed through and made it through 4 miles. I never did get that coffee.

I'm going to call it a night and get to bed at a decent time. I tend to stay up late, but I know my body will need the rest tonight. Back to bootcamp in the morning (month 6, day 4).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRTRAINS 5/5/2011 1:06PM

    Hey good for you, good choice... I do love my coffee at any time.. Glad to see the sun still shining there..


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KITHKINCAID 5/4/2011 11:59PM

    Wow - good for you. I probably would have opted for the coffee. I'm more tired than normal too because of all the added exercise this week, but at least I'm sleeping like a baby!

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