Seated straight Leg raises

This video shows an exercise that strengthens the core, hip, knee and lower leg. It's main purpose is for young or new runners. It specifically strengthens the Vastus Medialis which prevents runners knee. It also helps in preventing shin splints.



Running Mechanics

Running Mechanics

         The most important concept for running efficiency is stride rate. Watch any elite level runner and they all hit 90 strides per minute (unless they are running :52 for the last lap of the 10,000m, when they are upwards of 100). That is 90 foot strikes with each foot every minute. If you are taking less you are undoubtably either putting on the brakes or bouncing up and down. There is no exact model when it comes to distance running like there is in sprinting. At a stride rate count of 90 your foot will land beneath your bodies center of gravity. This enables you to push rather than pull. You run faster by lengthening your stride out the back as opposed to reaching with your foot to front.

         In order to check this, Use a countdown timer on your watch. Set it to beeb every 60 seconds. Count foot strikes from beeb to beeb. If you are under 88, try it again on a nice soft grass surface without your shoes, you will hit 90. I am not promoting barefoot running but this is a way to reinforce the new neural pathways. Another method of making this change is that I would have my 9th graders who were under 88 follow me on a real slow, easy run and they would just match my stride. Remember you have been doing this your whole life, you cannot not just change the rhythm immediately. You have to master it slow before you can do it running faster. You will have to work on this all the time in order to change those neurological pathways. A good drill to use is running down a 1% grade for approximately 100m. Here you want to take 95-100 strides per minute. If you mark out (with chalk, tape, etc) your normal stride length and then just raise your stride rate to 95-100 with the same stride length you can work on having real quick feet. Another method I use with young athletes is a speed ladder. It teaches them to have quick, reactive feet.

         Why is it talented elite runners do not seem to get their feet wet when they run through puddles? Because their feet are on the ground for such a short period of time....

         My personal observations while coaching at the Elite Junior Womens Distance Camp at the OTC during our video analysis was that all of the girls at jogging pace looked awkward. They were not very good at running slow. Now these were very talented girls who in a very short time had risen to elite level. WHY?, running slowly, they slowed their cadence to the low 80's. At threshold pace and faster they were all in the 90-92 range all the time. With the exception of a few that had been injured frequently and they were running in the mid 80's all the time. Hence the injuries due to greater ground forces because of over striding. 

         Of course there are all other types of gross deficiencies that may be happening: Foot strike across the center line of the body, arm swing across the center of the body, running on their toes, and leaning forward at the waist to name a few. And all of these would need to be addressed.

         And as the ultimate realization, For the past 5 years my running has been getting slower and slower. Now I am 61, this is going to happen. It’s like dying and paying taxes. After retiring we moved to Colorado at an altitude of 8000’. Now you have to run differently at this altitude. AND, it is usually much slower than at sea level. This summer I was doing a run on the treadmill and decided to count my strides (I was always at 90) and to my amazement I was at 85. In order to slow down for the altitude I had slowed my turnover which not only made me a slower runner but way less efficient. With this now my main training objective, my running is starting to get a bit faster and more efficient with a quicker turnover.

         If there is one thing that can help your running it is getting to that stride rate of 90+ in order to be more efficient, have less injuries and most of all become a better, faster runner.


Running Technique Mental Queues:

         Run tall

         Quick hands

         Quick feet

         Light feet

         Hips forward

         Chin level

Stride Rate Coaching Idea

One way to help get your stride rate up to 90 strides a minute or to get your athlete to raise their stride rate count is to follow a runner that hits the 90 count all the time. Have them run in their shadow at a comfortable pace matching foot strikes with the leader. As a coach, I would always have the 9th graders shadow me on runs to help them hit this 90 count stride rate pattern. Modeling the exact technique you want and having them follow is a great way to effect change.

Running tip

Stride rate and over striding

How do I know if I am over striding? Simple, count your foot strikes for one minute. Count either right foot or left foot. The best way is to be running for a bit start counting and then have your watch beep at 60 seconds. You may want to repeat that a few times. Ideally you want to be at 90-strides/ minute. Being over 90 for smaller runners is ok. You do not want to be in the mid 80's or lower.

Try this: if you are under 90 find a nice grass or turf field. Take your shoes off and repeat the test while running on the turf. This will force you into better forefoot landing and increase your stride rate a bit.

Change never happens immediately. You will have to work on this for weeks in order to make the change unconscious. Practicing running on a nice grass or turf field barefoot will help you change your biomechanics. While back out running on the road you will have to probably slow down in order to speed up your stride rate. It will feel like you are taking baby steps. Think quick feet and forefoot landing. For endurance athletes 90 strides/ minute is the benchmark. Speed then is purely a matter of stride length at 90 strides / minute. Falling off pace then is attributed to taking shorter strides. Do not make the mistake of trying to lengthen your stride by reaching out with your foot. That only results in more over striding and greater fatigue due to the braking action of the foot landing in front of the hip.


Next In Track & Field Menu- Sprinting is the product of both stride rate and stride length.

How do I increase both?

A 10.00 second 100m runner takes 5 steps / second and averages 2m per step in order to make this possible.

  • Explaining tempo training (threshold training, AT training, lactate threshold training, anaerobic threshold training, etc) it is all the same thing. And how to incorporate it into your program.