Friday, 4 December 2015

Born To Run Workshop

Last weekend I attended the aptly named 'Bulletproof Runner Workshop' organised by Born To Run, in Gothenburg. The course is designed to help improve your running technique, performance and injury prevention and is a stepping stone to Lee Saxby's legendary coaching course.

Those that have read the book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall will know of the barefoot phenomenon. This influenced the popularity of minimalist running shoes, essentially stripping away your big fat-cushioned, inflexible jogging shoes to something which allows your 200,000 + nerve endings in your feet feel the ground again. I read the book and bought the minimalist shoes, but have always been conscious that I may need to improve and change my running technique to suit. This was the weekend!

Joseph and Gourgen were brilliant hosts and taught us loads over the two days. The first morning we ran through various drills to compare our technique against a 'Bulletproof Runner', these consisted of squatting, hoping, bouncing, uni-ped stances and running drills on a treadmill. These tested our ability of the 3 fundamental skills of Posture,  Rhythm and Relaxation which are all important to improve your running efficiency and reduce injury risk. These 3 skills were the catch-words of the weekend!

Watching yourself in slow-motion.
We were filmed both on the treadmill and outside, running at various speeds so that we could watch back at slow motion and discuss how we could improve our running techniques. It was fascinating to see how you move, break it down to the fundamentals and then rebuild a more efficient style. At the same time we were discussing the theory behind why the drills are so important to build strength through the elasticity and reactive ability of the neuromuscular system.

On day 2, we started early with a group recovery run. I am particularly bad at these and find it hard to go out for low-intensity runs and always end up pushing myself too hard. So, to prevent this happening Joseph gave us all a piece of tape and told us to stick it over our mouths! This essentially makes you solely breathe through your nose, which ensures you only run at a pace which suits your nasal inhalation. If you run too fast you will want to rip the tape off and gasp air in and out through your mouth….fail! The theory behind this is that your body requires a certain amount of CO2 to allow O2 to pass from your red blood cells to your muscle tissue, so by breathing through your nose limits the amount of CO2 you exhale thus allowing O2 to pass to your muscle tissue and aid with recovery. It worked a treat and although you look slightly odd with your mouth taped shut, it does make you concentrate about your breathing and running pace.

Tape makes for a quiet run!
All in all it was a great weekend and I learnt a lot about how to improve my running technique and the theory behind introducing some drills into my daily workouts to help build strength and prevent injury. After meeting so many interesting and inspirational runners during the weekend and in a moment of madness after the event, I signed up for the Hallands Ultra 50km race next June! That should be a good test of my running efficiency!

11th June 2016!
Visit the BTR website for more information on this course and Lee Saxby.

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