Triathlete Real Running Form Review: An Age Grouper Video Analysis

There’s a lot of chatter inside Team EN about becoming a better runner; as a coach it’s a fine line between talking about fitness vs proper technique.

But at the end of the day there’s no hiding from the camera…I am putting the video below out there for folks to see not because I am a great runner, but as an example of the constant quest for improvement; the comments and feedback I get from my teammates are what help me improve each and every year.

You can’t beat getting 10+ thoughtful comments in less than a day…some with drill suggestions!  This is just an example of the power of Team EN and how we help one another despite the fact we live across the globe and only meet at camps and races.

Background

I am a sub-3 marathoner by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin, and have run a 3:15 in an Ironman® (Texas 2012). I played soccer all my life and then got into collegiate rowing before turning to running and then triathlon. I am 6′ 2″ tall, about 190 lbs here in this video (race weight is 180). This was the first of two mile repeats on my day, this one was done in 5:48.  I am currently training for Boston and trying to stay sharp with “just enough” running intensity.

The Video

Elements I Like To See

There are two things here that are good that bear pointing out.

First is the foot strike being right below the knee, with the shin never extending beyond vertical — this is smooth, continuous running with no “braking” motion from overstriding.

Second is the nice high hands; I am a firm believer that higher hands promote / support a faster cadence, and I do that well with some relaxation.

Elements To Work On

Of course, there are a few things that need some serious help.

First is the hip tightness I exemplify. Running faster requires either (1) more steps or (2) longer steps…. I like my cadence right now and don’t want to lose the natural length of my gait as I get older.

Second is the arching of my upper body, as my hips are tight and my core is weak, I end up arching to retain what I perceive is excellent form. I often find myself cracking my back when running (twisting to release it).

Third is just tension of the upper body. My hands are relaxed but I still carry tension through the shoulders / traps and I’d like to reduce that.

Elements To Ignore

The one thing I would put under this area is rotation. I am not so worried about the rotation of my upper body or hands crossing my midline; that’s pretty natural especially at mile repeat pace. Besides, you can’t fix everything at once!

Got Feedback?

If you have some input for me, I’d love to hear it. Please post it in the comments below, thanks!!

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AUTHOR

Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
6 comments
  • Dr. Ellen McNally
    REPLY

    Hey Patrick! I would agree that you are too upright, your lower lumbar support and hip tightness are things that are holding you back the most. I have some new great exercises for you to help improve that lumbar and pelvic control while disassociating your hips from your trunk. It’s too difficult to explain them here so I will video myself or Abby doing them this week and get them over to you to practice. I’m sure you can get rid of that “jelly bean belly” 🙂

    • admin
      REPLY

      Doc! I gotta come see you! I am off to Tucson this week for our big camp, but maybe when I get back before Boston! Hope you are doing well…

  • Katie Antares
    REPLY

    Patrick,
    I am a former sprinter, turned endurance athlete, and I have always had difficulty with longer runs. As such, I am forever seeking advice on form and running economy, and I recently came across some interesting advice. New research indicates that the commonly held idea that pumping the arms straight forward and controlling torque as we run may be costing us more energy and decreasing speed. New ideas suggest that the arms should cross midline in a more relaxed manner, increasing side to side motion. As I said, I am slow, but this method has helped me knock 1:30 off my 5k. Contact me if you want more info on this.

  • Chris Beuer
    REPLY

    At 1:50 you reference an angle that is sub-90 degrees. What angle are you referring to, and could you please elaborate on that particular aspect of running form? Thanks!

    • admin
      REPLY

      I was referring to the angle between my extended / push off leg (straight here) and my front leg (knee up) – the hip angle opening. One of my personal concerns is around hip tightness, and the fact that I am losing some range of mother here at a high rate of speed is concerning to me, thanks!

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