So, you've been watching some running form videos, you know you want to improve your running form, and you realize that cadence is a large part of both running economy and form, but you don't know how to go about fixing it. Well, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runners High, I'm going to show you one simple trick you can use to improve your running cadence.
This one mental trick that I'm going to teach you actually comes from Ben Yoakam who I interviewed on the Smart Athlete Podcast. If you haven't checked those out, subscribe to the channel, stay tuned. On the Smart Athlete Podcast, I interview smart athletes, people that are both competitive and intelligent and share a lot of insights about how to be a better person, how to be a better athlete, a lot of things you can learn. So, Ben shared with me this one trick. He's a former division, one decathlete and currently a track coach at Coastal Carolina University.
On top of this trick, he also shares some really great stories in his interview, so go listen to that. But that trick has to do with something he figured out during his master's thesis research. He spent time figuring out what are the really good run mechanics, what are the best runners do, and he spent a lot of time looking at sprinters. He points to Carl Lewis specifically as having excellent, excellent run mechanics. So, you can also look up a video on Carl Lewis to see how he just floats down the track.
But those sprint mechanics also apply to endurance athletes. And Ben made this very simple analogy that gave me the you know, tool I needed to improve my own mechanics just a little bit more and notice what was going on with me, as well as fixing a lot of his athletes poor form and improving their cadence. Now, what is that trick that the bench shared with me, what is the mental trick that you have to do?
Okay. In your mind's eye, you can close your eyes If you feel you know better imagining that or keep them open and keep staring at me, that's fine. But think about as you're running, behind you, there's some kind of wall and your feet can't touch that wall. Now, when you do that, your stride shortens up and your cadence can improve itself, you can get faster because once you push out the back farther, there's a pendulum effect that happens, where your leg wants to swing farther forward and causes you to slow down your cadence and be less efficient running.
So, to show you the basic idea of what I'm talking about, I'm going to show you as I stand here what we want to do. Obviously, you'll be running when you're doing this, but you want to think about this. So, here I am, bodies up tall, when you actually begin to run, you'll lean forward, you’ll have this nice lean, I can't do that and stand still.
So, pretend I'm leaning for the sake of running. Now, you're going to make sure that you are keeping your leg in this nice tight circle and your body. So, it's here, knee comes up, foot plants, goes back and comes back forward.
What Ben talks about is avoiding that wall, that imaginary wall that's right behind me. Because when we have our leg back farther out, you can see my back, makes that adjustment, and he shows this in the interview I did with him on the Smart Athlete Podcast.
But your back makes an adjustment and when it makes that adjustment, it has this pendulum effect where it comes forward and you end up pushing your leg farther forward than you really want to. Which means that you're going to be breaking while you're running instead of continuing to push forward momentum and go faster. You never want to be breaking while you're running.
I'll cover more run mechanics in specific things. I'll actually show you running demos in another video. Ao, be sure to subscribe to the channel. Stay tuned for that. But that's my one trick comes from Ben Yoakam. It's brilliant. I've been using it to kind of check on myself when I'm getting tired, and it's helped me a lot think more about positive running form, keeping that cadence up and that one trick will improve your cadence. So, I'll see you on the next episode of Runners High.