Running form is one of the hot button topics in the world of
distance coaches. We debate, often with speed/power coaches, on where they fit
into the program. How important are mechanics for a distance runner? How do we
change them? Should we change them?
These are the questions that wer tackle in this episode. We offer a balanced
view of how much importance to assign on running mechanics work and how to
incorporate it into a training program. Tackling on when to work on mechanics
fresh versus going against the common wisdom and practicing “falling apart
When it comes to making changes, we discuss how it’s about
conceptualizing and overemphasize.  Step
one is to get athletes to conceptualize the mechanical changes that you are
after, making sure they understand what they are actually doing versus what you
want them to do. Our running form is so ingrained in us that, even if from the
outside it looks horrible, it feels normal to that athlete. Because of this, we
need to start by having understand what they are actually doing. Often this
involves showing an athlete on film so that they can visually conceptualize, or
taking their shoes off to change the internal feedback.
As always, we take a few tangents along the way and discuss the topic of what
is a scientific approach to training. We often think the scientific approach is
some systematic beautifully written master plan.  It often entails isolating systems where we
might work on VO2max one day and Lactate Threshold the next, with very little
intermixing of ‘systems.’ It’s our view that this is a wrong interpretation of
what a scientific approach is. We choose this isolationist approach as coaches
because it’s the easy path. It’s much simpler to assign a isolated workout and
check off that box, then to step back and think about creating a workout that
accomplishes the goals you’ve set for your athlete.
What a scientific approach actually entails is simple:
Observation and finding out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not some fancy,
systematic plan.

We hope you enjoy this podcast, if you are a regular listener, venture over to iTunes and rate it for us. It helps us to be able to keep delivering this content to you guys regularly!


Steve and Jon


Resources Mentioned:

Vern Gambetta and Gary Winkler Podcast- HMMR media

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    1. Bill on April 28, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Great podcast as always. Is there any way to get a transcript for each episode? Thanks.

    2. Reese on May 13, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Just found your site and am loving listening to your podcasts. I have a suggestion for a future topic–something I think about a lot. I have a background in athletic training and "recreational running". I've always been interested in the science and logic of training/racing but don't have the experience of being a competitive runner myself. I currently coach xc at the junior high level and absolutely love it. My question is this–Is it possible to be a good xc coach without having personal racing experience? And, how do you transition from being able to run with your fastest kids to not being able to keep up? Occasionally I fall into the trap of being hard on myself because many of the other coaches I run into at meets seem to better fit the mold of competitive runner-turned-coach….(you know, the people sporting their most recent ironman gear??)

    3. JimM on April 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      How much of good running mechanics is due to strong muscles? I mean, can you run with good form with weak glutes? And fall-apart mechanics: I find that a bunch of gym work has really improved my form at the end of 1500s and 5000s: posterior chain work and back work. Deadlifts, squats, Bulgarian split squats, glute bridges, seated rows etc.

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