Get low (aka vertical displacement)

Posted In: ChiRunning | Running divider No Comments »

I hope you enjoyed some musical entertainment by Lil Jon and all of his friends. I just thought it was a perfect way to make a point.

A lot of folks bounce up and down when they run. I call it the David Hasselhoff (cue the short shorts and the Baywatch theme music). It might look cool when you’re running on the beach but it’s not the most efficient way to get ahead.

As you’re probably aware, running is a linear exercise, meaning you try to go directly from point A to point B. So anything that takes you away from your goal or wastes energy is not ideal in my books.

To illustrate the point in a better way, here’s a great video featuring US Olympian Ryan Hall. It’s a few years old but the info is still as relevant as ever. And don’t mind the ads…

Vertical displacement

(As a disclaimer, Hall has actually worked on his biomechanics and is now pushing the pace with the world leaders at the end of the race!)

A few ways to help minimize bounce is to

  1. have a nice high cadence (as close to 90 foot strikes per foot per minute),
  2. to make sure you allow your hips to rotate (you don’t want to make them rotate but rather let them rotate by having a level pelvis and not holding any undue tension in the area) and
  3. to avoid pushing off (your calves will also thank you in the long run)

That way you also take on less energy/pounding from the ground so it will be more fun as well.

Just keep this in mind when you’re out for your next run. Staying low helps you get to the finish line faster and with more energy!

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