"It's your form that gets you to the finish line," said San Diego Track Club coach Paul Greer during GOTRIbal's 2010 conference and retreat. Running form is especially important when you're tired.
Despite a no-show from traditionally sunny skies, Greer's upbeat, positive coaching style put attendees at ease as they tried movements, drills and exercises on the lawn at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa in San Diego.
Here are three simple tricks Greer teaches his athletes to keep them relaxed and in good form while on the run.
Lightly press your thumb and forefinger together. This gives you something to focus on so you don't clench your fists and tighten up especially when you're tired. Tension spreads--tight fists turn into tight shoulders and tight shoulders tend to pull your body backwards.
Don't cross your arms across your body. Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle and swing your arms back to front while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Your arms should travel up to your chest and down to your hips like your hand is reaching into your pocket for your keys.
Envision yourself standing tall. When we're tired, we tend to slump a little and our stride length changes. Picture a string coming out the top of your head and pulling you up toward the sky.
Sara Cox Landolt is a married mom who depends on superior running technique to chase and catch her three sons. She's a USAT Level 1 certified coach with 15 years of triathlon experience. Her passion is encouraging first-time triathletes. Read her blog at ironmakeover.blogspot.com.
Paul Greer is an associate professor in health and exercise science at San Diego City College. He has a Master's Degree in physical education and 25 years of coaching experience. He was a 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in the 1500-meter run. Greer coaches for the San Diego Track Club and works with over 700 runners as director of the Rockin' 'N' Runnin' marathon training program.