There are many aspects to running efficiently. Among those is having proper bending of the knee during the swing phase of running (while your foot is in the air). This makes it easier to land and push-off more easily. In order to have excellent knee drive, it’s imperative to have hip flexibility and strength.
This brings us to Jodi’s story. She is a runner who has had limited flexibility in the outer part of her right hip. This has made it difficult to run regularly and participate in 5k races. Let’s see what her form looks like.
As she runs, her knee drive is a little slower than ideal, but on closer inspection, it appears that weakness in her hips is an underlying factor. More specifically, during the loading phase, she has too much rotation of her hips and pelvis, which indicates that her lateral hips are not engaging quick enough. This slowness to engage will make it more difficult to push-off. This can translate to a more shuffling type of gait, rather than a quick/clean push-off with knee drive.
So here’s what we did, first a simple A drill to practice knee drive, first while running in place, then while running forward.
Next, we did a simple stretch for the hips to ensure improved flexibility.
She also did a drill to strengthen the landing phase, forcing the lateral hips to fire more quickly to stabilize.
Lastly, she did a simple high knee running drill. Again, this dials her hips into moving more quickly during the loading and the knee drive phases of gait.
After all this, here’s the new and improved Jodi!
Notice better quickness of her hips and feet during the landing to push-off stretch, and improved knee drive. She generally looks more efficient through her lower core as well, with less hip side-to-side motion. Her arm swing is also more straight forward, which is a sign of improving stability as well. Overall, these changes don’t look natural yet, but will become so with consistent practice of these drills. Expect great things to come, excellent work Jodi!