Ready to Run Faster? Practice Falling

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by VALERIE HUNT

Ready to Run Faster? Practice Falling

[W]hat if you could learn to run faster, not harder? You can — you just have to learn how to fall.
When I coach at CrossFit Endurance (CFE) seminars, I wear a GPS watch. As the day progresses, I take the athletes through run intervals and ask them to guess their pace. As their ability to fall increases, they can run significantly faster without more effort. It’s fun to watch their responses as they feel like they are running around an 8:30 min mile when it’s actually more like 6:45 or better. Teaching athletes to run faster instead of harder makes them want to continue progressing and maybe even like running.

When we watch runners, we can see a lot of movement in their arms and legs; naturally, we try to mimic these actions. Coaches usually cue things like “pump your arms,” “reach,” “drive,” “lift your knees,” or just “GO!” These are movements that the coach can see and the runner can feel, so they seem to make sense. They also make us feel like we are working hard, which we usually equate with running faster.

But what if you could learn to run faster, not harder? You can — you just have to learn how to fall.

Better Falling = More Speed

When I first read started studying the PoseMethod® of running, I had never heard of falling to run faster. I was taught that you reached out as far as you could with your heel, then you pushed off the back foot, pumping your arms. This made sense to me and I practiced it, mastering the heel strike…along with recurring hamstring pain. The concept of learning to run was a welcome find for me.

Dr. Romanov founded the PoseMethod when he found that when a runner was in a certain position, the pose, he could fall and continue moving forward as well as increasing speed — as long as he pulled his foot from the ground at the right time, keeping the foot under the GCM, or general center of mass. Pose-Fall-Pull.

The first time I really felt the fall in my run, my perception of running changed forever. Teaching athletes how to run more efficiently using gravity at any speed, distance or terrain has been my healthy obsession ever since, with positive changes at all ages and fitness levels. I even have an 88-year-old who started at 85 and dropped from a 10:37 to an 8:47 in the mile after he learned to fall!

Whether you want to get faster in a race or WOD, your potential to increase your speed is directly proportionate to the amount of practice you put into your fall.
When I coach at CFE seminars, a majority of the attendees tell me that they do not enjoy running because it’s hard, it hurts and they simply “suck at it.”  The good news is that CrossFit athletes have an advantage in learning to fall because of their strength and conditioning.

Brian MacKenzie, CrossFit Endurance founder, combined the strength and conditioning of CrossFit with the skill of running to create a faster, stronger athlete. Being able to hold the pose at a high angle requires strength. The strength from CrossFit provides the athlete the ability to hold the pose position while they progress on their skill and speed of running.

Usain Bolt, currently the world’s fastest runner, has a fall angle of 19 degrees, whereas most recreational runners are falling at 1-2 degrees. Whether you want to get faster in a race or WOD, your potential to increase your speed is directly proportionate to the amount of practice you put into your fall. Practicing the fall is simple; it just needs to be consistent.

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