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Gruffalo or effortless runner What type of runner are you?


Gruffalo or effortless runner What type of runner are you?

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With the festive season upon us, we prepare for those lovely moments with family and friends. You may be flying out to meet loved ones and spend precious moments with those who matter most to you. You may in a position to entertain guests coming here to Thailand and you will undoubtedly show them the best of what the Kingdom has to offer. Celebrating Christmas, we laugh, dance, sing, catch up, reflect and look ahead with the best wine-and-dines we can think of. The festive season really is the time to indulge and make the most of those precious moments together.

I am sure lots of amazing, mouthwatering meals are already being carefully crafted in our imagination and complemented with an equally impressive array of wine and spirits. And with the New Year arriving fast, we also make a short list of resolutions. One of those may be to enter that running event your colleagues talk about. If that is the case, you may want to start with analysing what type of runner you are. If you intend to make running part of your life, start by reviewing which one of the four types of runners you most resemble. “Knowing what your run looks like and how to improve that form, will go a long way in running in a more effortless manner and preventing injury over time.” Much like a fingerprint, you have your own distinct way of running that suits your body best. But there are common mistakes that many of us make that are easy to avoid and have a great influence on your form and your perceived effort in running.

A. The Reacher

RunningThe Reacher wants to get this run over-and-done with. “How do I get home as quickly as possible? I know, I’ll just take bigger steps to get there faster!” Over-striding or reaching in your stride is an interesting phenomenon that is very much a mental override from your natural gait efficiency. The Reacher has at some point decided that logic dictates that bigger strides get the job done quicker. Lengthening your stride is not a bad idea per se. But lengthening your stride and not pulling your leg back underneath your centre of mass is a recipe for disaster. Reachers are almost all so-called heel strikers as you can see in the image above. The Reacher’s leg is in a fully extended position, leaving no room for shock absorption of the ground reaction force other than in the hip. Comments like: “I am 35 years old, why does it feel like I need a hip replacement every time I finish a run” often have their origin in over-striding or reaching in your stride.

Are you a get-this-over-and-done-with type of runner? Then you may want to start swinging your foot back underneath your centre of mass. Paradoxically, by placing their feet out in front of their centre of mass, the Reacher is effectively putting on the brakes every time s/he makes a stride. That of course slows you down rather than brings you home faster. By placing the foot too far out in front, the Reacher has to then bring the body over the anchor point in that stride, requiring a lot of energy, and so develops a ‘stop-starting-motion’ with every single step.

B. The Gruffalo

You feel the ground vibrating, a shadow is cast forward, you hear the thumping behind you getting louder and louder, heavy breathing noises arise from what lurks behind you… The Gruffalo runner is a loud, noisy runner whose foot-strike is heavy and creates a lot of impact on the runner’s body. The heavy foot-strike is usually complemented with a lot of excess body movement in the upper body. This runner over-rotates, runs with elbows out and has a bobbing head throughout the gait cycle. A Gruffalo runner isn’t necessarily a big person, a petit runner can also create a big noise. As you run, you have to accommodate up to 3 times your body weight when you land. This can make even a lightweight runner sound like a heavy duty freight train when running.

Gruffalo runners are especially at risk of knee and hip injuries as more often than not, those joints have to absorb the impact of the constant pounding. They usually run on shoes with the biggest cushion you can find. Marshmallow shoes, I call them. The jarring motion that they subject their bodies too often leaves the Gruffalo runner with a headache after the run. I know I would have one if I pounded the pavement like a Gruffalo runner does. Does this sound (pun intended) like you? Then what you might want to look into is doing some activation drills before your run. Boxers are typically very light on their feet. Float like a butterfly… not like a Gruffelo. Before your run, grab a jump rope and see if you can skip like Muhammad Ali in his heyday.


Source: Expat Life Thailand

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