Good form is key to running success, influencing everything from speed to injury prevention. But for most runners, muscle memory has them locked into less-than-ideal form.
A simple technique to maintain proper running posture, popularized in the 19th century by chemist-turned-runner W.G. George, is making a comeback. Known as the 100-up, the two-stage approach optimizes running form for best efficiency and safety.
First, you’ll need to master the ‘minor’. This involves 30 knee raises, like marching in place, done in correct form.
Stand with your shoulders over hips over ankles, with feet about right inches apart. Then, bring your left knee forward and up to hip level, pressing your left elbow back behind you. Return to the starting position; repeat 30 times. Then, switch to the right knee. Be mindful of landing on the balls of your feet, rather than your heel. This is a rhythmic exercise, so don’t lock your joints or hunch forward for momentum.
While this seems simple enough, most start to waver in form by the 10th rep. Once you can correctly do 30 with each leg, repeat the exercise with more pace to prepare for the second ‘major’ stage.
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Start on the balls of your feet, with heels just off the ground and your head and body tilted ever-so-slightly forward. Spring from your toes, bringing one knee to the level of your hip; then, let the foot fall back to its original position. Repeat with your other leg, and continue raising and lowering legs alternatively. This is more or less your running form, except you’re doing it in place rather than moving forward. As with the minor, build your way up until you can do 100 with perfect form.
For both the Minor and the Major, it’s fine to use your arms to help with force so that the upper body works in union with your legs.
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