British Spartathlon Team Training Day

Shane Benzie from Running Reborn kindly hosted a running technique workshop for members of the British Spartathlon Team where he introduced his coaching work on body movement and efficiency of running based on his study and experience of working with a range of athletes including elite ultra-marathon and marathon runners.

This workshop was designed to look at different aspects of running technique and included various discussion and debate on a range of subjects, followed by video analysis of each individual runners style and advice on where individuals technique could be improved to increase their efficiency of movement. Shane also had a wealth of material collected from his previous work which included excellent examples of good form… the ‘train’ of African marathon runners running laps around a track in perfect unison was a joy to behold. The team didn’t quite feel brave enough to try and recreate this however!

The training day covered four main topics (and I hope I’ve remembered all the facts correctly!). The first focussed on footfall analysis and introduced a focus on the ‘foot tripod’ concept of hitting the ground using the three contact points of the bottom of the heel, ball of the big toe and ball of the little toe at the same time to spread the weight distribution when hitting the ground.

This led to the next phase of technique which looked at the movement and spring between strides which covered body angle (the 70 degree lean forward); vertical oscillation (spring between steps), cadence (around 175-185 is ideal) and leg movement in the air (cycling your legs).

Each of the runners running style was recorded and then analysed as a group and suggestions given on potential areas of improvement before they had an opportunity to try out their refined technique. Visible improvements were seen almost immediately although the effort of tweaking your style did require some concentration and effort and requires ongoing practice.

Following a lunch break where the guys chatted about running, events in general, a sneak preview of kit samples and some specific advice on Spartathlon for those newcomers to the team it was onto the second part of the training.

In the afternoon, the workshop focussed on the fascial bands in the body and looked at runners form (i.e. keeping a central line running from your forehead to your chest aligned and raised and head positioning looking forward) followed by the importance of your arms form both a technique and efficiency perspective (keep them loose not tense) and the fact that the arms are a key influence for cadence.

Those who attended the day found the advice and knowledge very useful and there were certainly a few areas where runners were going to try out the refinements to their technique. Whilst Shane was keen to impart his knowledge, this was offered on the basis that individual runners could take on board what worked for them and recognition that every runners is different.

The British Spartathlon Team would like to thank Shane for hosting the workshop. Shane also has a book coming out next year entitled “The Lost Art of Running” which can be pre-ordered from Amazon here which promises to be a very useful read for those interested in the subject of running technique.

For those interested in reading about Shane’s work and coaching services, you can visit his website here

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