RUNNERS SCHOOL MONTHLY TRAINING TIP
HIGH KNEES & FLOAT PHASE
Time OFF the ground as a runner is key to your float phase, energy efficiency, and those great pics you can get from your races! This also helps to make you not feel so heavy with each step and able to push in those moments at the end of your runs.
Knee lift is one element that can give you this, and even use as a focus in your speed work and race. BUT…. you need to position and time this right with the rest of your running motion or you can overstrike.
To work on knee lift you need to know where your foot lands….
- Footstrike must happen closer to your body. This gives more power to push off again & prevents overstriding.
- Flexion of the front knee. This put the foot in a better position ready to strike the ground rather than reaching out in an effort to make more ground.
The added keynote is that It doesn’t matter if you are a heel striker or a forefoot striker, but it does matter if you overstride.
See the difference between the runners in this picture.
The front runner has good knee flexion and his lead leg foot is positioned further back. Note how his back leg is also straighter. (see last months Form tip to review this). You must note that this runner can be either a heel striker or a forefoot striker. If there was sound, he probably will have a pretty quiet footfall.
NOT GOOD FORM:
The back runner’s lead leg is close to straight with almost no knee lift.
When the foot strikes the ground this is going to land hard and send a lot of extra force through his body PLUS… it will slow him down or lead to injury. Note that his back leg has more flexion (bend) at the knee and he is definitely going to heel strike. OUCH!! This is a tough running style and he probably has a pretty noisy foot strike.
Your focus for a higher knee lift, more air and that lighter feel is to:
- Think about where your lead leg lands with each step… closer to your body.
- Listen to how your footfalls. Aim to be quiet.
There are many elements to help you feel lighter and faster on your feet. Take one at a time, and try this in your speed work.
BE CAREFUL… It is important during this strong phase of training and racing to NOT add too much in the way of specific drills as they can lead to injury. You are better to use these as cues at the moment and then when your main racing is over we will focus on teaching in more detail how to improve your running form with more specific drills.