I have a confession to make: I used to be a stomper. If I happened to hop on a treadmill, it sounded like the Jurassic Park T-Rex was fast approaching. I could feel the horror from the other gym goers, as they tried to stay as still as possible and lure me away from the children.
The terrifying sound came from my heel striking the floor with incredible force at each step. Now, some variation in the impact force is normal from runner to runner, but I was striking the floor VERY hard, and not only was it embarrassing, it is believed to lead to some painful injuries. So, as I started my journey to becoming a born-again runner, I tried listening to my steps and changing the way I ran.
My biggest mistake was trying to wear the wrong shoe. I was wearing the same shoes for running, cardio, strength training and crossfit. While I love my sweet Reeboks, they are made for crossfit, and were not optimal for running.
After some research, I decided to switch to lighter shoes, with a minimal drop (4mm to be exact). The decrease in heel cushioning forced me to rethink my landing, as I could feel the feedback immediately on my ankles and shins if I struck the floor too hard.
Another area I had to address was the length of my strides. I was over reaching, and leaving my center of gravity, so my whole body was propelling forward as I landed. My core is weak, and I was slumping and moving my shoulders a lot. So, I’ve gone back to running on a treadmill, in front of a mirror, so I can check my form, and make sure my shoulders are relaxed, my back is straight and my legs are carrying me forward.
The best cadence is around 180 to 200 BPM, so I made sure to pick out some good jams to run to. I find that I tend to run to the beat, so I have been using Spotify Running, and that has helped me stick to a rhythm.
I had to learn to run again. So, I started running for about 1/4 of a mile at a very slow pace, and as the new gait felt more natural, I started speeding up my pace and very slowly adding distance to my runs. I could imagine that learning a new gait has to be cumbersome for seasoned runners, but it is worth it when you spend less time on the sidelines, and start running more efficiently.
Edit: I’ve come across a lot of material on pose running recently, and, when I added this technique to the above, I achieved significant improvements in my runs (even my Moov was happy with the reduced G force on impact) .