Sunday, May 20, 2012

Run Analysis and Personal Training Session

Running is much more than using your legs and feet to go the distance.  I have learned that it is also about utilizing your energy where you need it most.  For example, I never thought about how much energy I used when I was swinging my arms for 26.2 miles while running the Chicago Marathon.  By building strength in other areas of the body, like arms, shoulders and stomach will benefit a runner.

I just completed my Personal Training Session with Coach Kennihan, a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach at the Elite Fitness & Gym in Western Springs. The session included a full Run Analysis which entails running on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while Meghan(Coach Kennihan) observes to note any form flaws in order to provide detailed drills and exercises to address areas that need correction or improvement.

Last year in preparation for my first marathon I found a personal trainer to help me setup a weight training program to supplement my marathon training program. I had found a personal trainer associated with the Oak Lawn Park District that had experience running long distances. This weight program served me well for my first marathon.

After running the Chicago Marathon last year, I remember clearly what areas needed improvement such as my quads and so this year for my second marathon I wanted to enhance my marathon training weight program as well as have a Run Analysis done to address any weaknesses in my running form. When browsing through all of the handouts and flyers in the goody bag from the Bunny Rock 5K, I stumbled across a familiar name Meghan Kennihan. Meghan is a race director for the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 race that I ran last year. After signing up for the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 last year, runners received emails from Meghan about the upcoming race, that included "Top 10 Reasons to Run this Race" and "Top 10 Unacceptable Excuses" that were so absolutely hilarious that Meghan's Top 10 list always come to mind when hearing about the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10. In the goody bag was a flyer for Meghan Kennihan a Certified Personal Trainer.

I immediately checked out her web page and was impressed by her credentials and certificates as a Personal Trainer. And in addition to that she is an accomplished runner.

My Personal Training Session with Meghan started off by me running on the treadmill for the Run Analysis. Her Run Analysis included six areas: Posture(Chest, Pelvis Alignment, lean), Foot Strike(Hip positioning, contact point),    Arms & Shoulders(Arm swing, elbow positioning), Foot Landing(Supination, foot strike and push off), Turnover(stride rate or cadence) and Body(Vertical oscillation and Swaying).

Wow, who knew that running was so complicated! One would thing you just lace em up and go run. But once you start striving for longer distances and a faster pace, besides conditioning, form and efficiency can play a key role in improving your overall performance. The other important factor is that better form can help you avoid injury. To this point, I have been very fortunate and have only had minor injuries such as shin splints and sprained ankles(I am not including those skinned knees from falling on the trails!).

As part of the Run Analysis, some of the areas that Meghan identified were my arm swing, my foot strike position and my zig-zag posture. The bottom line is that I need to keep my arms motion to forward and back with little or no side motion, my hip movement should be reserved for the dance floor(must be from all those Ball Room Dancing lessons) and my footstrike needs to be better positioned to spring forward.

Identifying the areas that need improvement is only a portion of the solution. Once the areas are identified, Meghan recommended and demonstrated specific drill and exercises for me to implement in my marathon training. After she demonstrated each drill/exercise, it was my turn to do the same. Maybe I should have taken a class on coordination first... After some good coaching I was able to perform reps for each of the recommended drills/exercises.

I have already seen/felt improvement in my form and stride just by correcting my arm swing. For any runner looking to improve their form and performance and reduce the potential for injuries, I would recommend a Run Analysis and Personal Training Session with Coach Kennihan. So for now, I am on my way. Those Kenyans better look out now!


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