As I outlined in my previous post, overstriding is a major contributor to knee pain and poor economy. I want to highlight some exercises and running form drills that you can incorporate into your training, to help prevent your overstride.
Look Forward Not Down.
As we run, where we look has an impact on our posture. Those of us that tend to look down also tend to lean forward (forward tilt of the torso). This has a knock on effect as it changes our centre of mass. To prevent us from falling forward we have to land our lead foot further out in front of us. This results in an overstride.
To combat this I tell athletes to keep there head up and look in front of them. You will be surprised at the difference this small cue will have on torso position and where you land your foot. Remember, we want to land our foot as close to our centre of mass as possible.
Running softly reduces loading rates, source , and encourages us to increase our cadence which causes the foot to land closer to our centre of mass. Reduced loading rates spare our muscles and joints from unnecessary tissue stresses and injury.
Pick your heel up.
Picking our heels up under our bum increases hip and knee flexion. This facilitates a passive and active force transfer to the hip flexors which allows us to increased knee drive. This creates an ideal position to land closer to our centre of mass. Check the following youtube clip from Chris Johnson (Zeren PT).
This is a great neuromuscular control exercise. Note the high knee position and the hip extension.
Another means of picking up your heels is to strengthen the hamstrings. As running is essentially a one legged sport (only one leg is in contact at any one time), I like to prescribe exercises that closely mimic our sport. A lot of hamstring rehab is focused on working the hamstrings eccentrically (lengthening). This is great as our hamstrings work eccentrically to slow down our knee extension at initial contact. However much of this rehab is targeted for sprinting type injuries or other sports that require a lengthening of the hamstring (gymnastics). Therefore in my opinion this form of rehab is not what we require to increase knee flexion. Picking our heels up requires the hamstrings to work concentrically (shortening). The following clip works the hamstrings and hip flexors concentrically and also encourages a high knee drive.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps your running.