Saturday, July 14, 2012

My first running clinic

So last Saturday I went to my first running clinic. Overall, I really liked the program and thought it was really beneficial. I'm very excited to share with you guys what I learned!

The clinic started with Mr. Diaz video taping each of us running on the treadmill in multiple views. He highlighted what he looks for in each of his running clients which helped us analyze each other's strides. At first I had a hard time "seeing" what he was seeing in each stride but then for some reason it just clicked and I picked it up pretty quickly. We then discussed proper form (more detail below) and headed outside to do drills to correct our form. After the drills we took to the streets for a light run then headed back to the studio to finish up with heart rate training.

I broke down what I thought were valuable lessons from the clinic:

Heart Rate
Heart rate training is extremely valuable. The "one size fits all" approach may work for some people, but VO2 Max testing allows a running professional such as Mr. Diaz to give you actual training ranges best suited to reach your goals. Think about it: a 2 minute recovery may work for you but may not work for someone else. Heart rate is extremely individual which is why Mr. Diaz advocates heart rate training. Good thing I have my Garmin! (I also just saw Garmin 405 selling at my local Target for 65.99! What a steal! Definitely worth the money if you're thinking about getting a heart rate monitor and GPS watch!)

Mr. Diaz also said that using the old 220-your age is not accurate! The best range he advised (besides testing obviously) is 180-your age to be your "steady state" run. Use that number the majority of the time (80%) and train at a higher heart rate about 20% of the time. This will improve your running in the long run (no pun intended) as you will be able to travel more distance, faster at the lower heart rate.

1. Don't heel strike. Most people heel strike without even realizing it.
2. Don't overstride. Another huge injury risk. When you extend your leg out you are making your knee and hip very vulnerable hence why those are both areas that can be trouble for runners. Try your best to land below your body.
3. "Lead with your knees" so that your center of gravity is below you when you land. This also ensures that you land below your body and not in front of it.
4. Land on your midfoot as much as possible, not your toes and definitely not your heels.
5. Run with your arms swinging straight forward and back in line with your body and keep elbows bent at about a 90 degree angle. This keeps your upper body and consequently your lower body moving in the same sagittal plane. When you "sway" or "twist" from side to side you are increasing the likelihood of injury.
6. Bounce as little as possible. You are wasting energy and increasing your ground impact when you bounce.

Do not be fooled by the "thick heel" on running shoes - they are not meant for you to pound on! Mr. Diaz was an advocate for zero drop shoes and sold Altras in his store. 
He didn't really like the shoes I use (Nike Frees) but it definitely wasn't the worst one of the group. He also said that Newtons can be acceptable if your train in them right. 

What shoes do you run in?

Mr. Diaz was an advocate for dynamic stretching pre-run, not static stretching. I've heard numerous times that its best to "warm up" your muscles by easing your muscles into the activity you are about to partake in opposed to traditional stretching. 

How do you warm up for a run? 

Have you heard of any of these tips before?


  1. I am new to running....doing a couch to 5K program. Moving ahead VERY slowly.....after 10 weeks, I'm only on week2 day2. I have asthma and my lungs don't think that I should be running. LOL I went to a running store and bought Mizuno shoes....that helped with the shin splint problems. I have recently read a couple articles that stated that you should not land on your heal but your midfoot. I just don't know how to do that exactly. I do high knees and but kicks before my 5 minute warm up. I would love to find a clinic like this somewhere close to me. I feel like there is so much for me to learn to improve my chances of actually running longer than 1.5 minutes at a time. Thanks for the info!

  2. Wow. He'd hate my shoes then. I need padding like crazy. No zero drop here.

  3. Those are awesome tips, thanks for sharing them! I would love to go to a clinic like that. I run in Mizunos; I wonder what he thinks of those. I don't stretch before a run, but I do stretch after. I've read several times not to stretch cold muscles. At track workouts, we warm up first then stretch, but I don't take the time to do that for regular runs. Thanks gain for the great tips!


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