The more you do of a particular activity the better you will become at doing it IN THAT WAY. This is probably so that your brain can be freed up for ‘more important’ tasks.
So if you only run you will become ‘fitter’ for running (but not necessarily better at it). You will be able to run in that manner more easily with less conscious effort.
Your brain will say ‘that’s easy we know that way of doing things, let’s go on automatic pilot’. This becomes your ‘normal’, even if those watching might see it as incredibly awkward and inefficient. Your reaction might be ‘but that’s how I run, it’s natural for me, I can’t change it’.
Actually it’s not natural, but that’s the adaptation you’ve made to accomodate your daily postures – sitting, wearing shoes, emotions, stress, work, driving. Also previous injuries (even those from 20 or 30 years ago) very often have caused you to reset your ‘normal’. Your body has moulded into that shape and you inevitably carry it over into movement, including running. The more you run that way the more ingrained it becomes.
Clearly we are poorly adapted to our current environment, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of us suffering from injuries and illnesses. The body is pre-programmed to move efficiently around its centre of mass but few of us can now locate this centre or have anything like full range of movement because of the way we interact with our environment. So what we perceive as centred or normal or natural is, objectively speaking, none of things.
Efficient natural movement consists not of stretching or strengthening to address local imbalances (although this may or may not play a part). It consists of finding a centred balanced position from which you can find a full range of motion throughout your skeleton. After all the muscles are only reacting to where your body is located in space.
So you can do all the static stretching you like and strengthen all you like but in itself that won’t provide more than temporary relief if you just return back again to a non-centred position. ‘Core stability’ won’t help you either if you are strengthening a poor pelvic position unable to find centre (and especially if you’re not on two legs).
Balance, good posture, mobility and movement patterns must always precede strength, speed, power etc., otherwise you are at best wasting your time and more likely doing more harm than good. Look at the whole body in movement and spot where the inefficiencies lie (you need to have done this quite a few times before it all becomes clearer). Then work on the local issues and reintegrate into movement again. Walking gait can also play a part in this, not only running.
If it’s partly a form issue then just work on one thing at a time and keep reintegrating. Often improving just one thing can improve many others. For example, picking up cadence makes it very difficult to continue overstriding and heel striking. Changes in form may well also necessitate extra more localised mobility work. A typical example may be more hip mobility to engage greater elasticity in extension.
Then, with good basic movement patterns in place and with improved range of movement, you can focus on becoming stronger or faster or more powerful, whatever your need as an individual.
Interestingly the runners I see who are addressing these issues and working on things like balance, ankle and hip mobility and upper body posture are constantly knocking out new PB’s at all ages and reporting feelings of going much faster with a lot less effort. I just don’t get why you wouldn’t do it!
It takes much less time than you think to set you on the right track. Get in touch for an initial assessment of what’s required.
Contact David on 07504439555 or email email@example.com.