Correcting my running form with a clip on sensor

I feel like I sound like a broken record sometimes since lately all I seem to mention on a regular basis are my back problems.  I hope I don’t seem negative because I’m actually a very positive person and I feel like I can find a solution if I can correct my posture but therein lies the problem, it’s a lot harder than it seems.

It’s like this:

back pain

Recently I’ve started to look at products that I can use which will help me improve my posture when I’m running.  I wanted something that could tell me in real time, ‘hey, you’re slouching’ or ‘hey, you’re bouncing up and down like a rabbit’.

Lumo seems to have a product that offers something close in a small sensor that clips onto the back of your shorts.

Lumo Run is a tracker that also offers real-time audio coaching.  It measures your cadence, bounce, braking, pelvic drop and rotation.  It uses the knowledge of the company’s research to determine key characteristics for proper running form and then conveys that info directly to you in real-time but it goes even further.

Based on your weaknesses the Lumo Run app will even tailor exercises for you to help you strengthen the areas where you are weakest.  So it doesn’t just tell you what your weak areas are, it helps you correct them.

lumo run exercises

Now to be fair my Garmin 620 can do a lot of the same features but not all and I also have to wear the heart rate monitor to fully access all of the features.  Lumo Run is a small clip that sits right on your waistband.  The company also sells capris and shorts that are compatible with the sensor but they are not a requirement,  (and they’re sort of expensive in my opinion) if you’d prefer running in your own shorts, by all means do.

And don’t worry if you’re out running and end up in a rainstorm or I you happen to jump under the shower with your clothes on, don’t fret, the Lumo Run in waterproof!  That’s right, I said waterproof, as in, you can even accidentally wash it.

lumo run

Too bad you can’t do that with iPods and Fitbits 😉

I also like the fact that you can wear the Lumo Run and your fitbit or garmin at the same time because then I get all the stats and that makes my analytical heart so happy.  Best of all the Lumo Run is under a hundred bucks.  Even better August is my birthday month and MacGyver needs present ideas.  I’ve put the Lumo Run at the top of my list.

Does the Lumo Run sound like a product you would try?

Do you currently or have you ever suffered from back issues?

Have you used Lumo Run?  If so, tell me what you thought!  Please!

Focus on Five, fix your form, finally get faster…

In case you didn’t know, it’s ridiculously hot and humid in Florida pretty much 8 or 9 months at out the year but summer is the absolute worst. I got in as many long runs as I could this summer but I also took the time to focus on getting faster and I knew I wasn’t going to get any faster if I didn’t first, fix my form.

Something clicked for me this year because I did manage a couple of PR’s and I was running in the 8’s and sometimes the high 7’s which NEVER happens to me in the summer. I can only hope that I will improve throughout the winter and really hit some major PR’s this fall and winter. A few people emailed me and asked me what I was doing so I thought I would share with you, the five things I focused on to get faster.

Cadence

The more time your feet are on the ground, the more energy you need to go forward. If you increase your cadence, you’ll increase your speed. Focus on the amount of times your foot strikes the ground and not on your stride length. Optimally, you should be at around 180 foot strikes per minute. When I started this my foot strike was around 145 and I though 180 was cray cray, it’s now around 170, still room for improvement but I now see that 180 is doable.

No Heel Striking

Heel Striking can sometimes lead to injury and it also contributes to a slower cadence. When I started focusing on where my feet were landing, I was able to increase my cadence and therefore, my speed. Wearing minimalist shoes (Brooks Pure Flow 2’s) has helped me with this. You can also run on the grass for a short distance to get an idea of what your natural stride is. I ran on the beach a little bit and that helped me too.

Mobility + Momentum

Increasing mobility can be achieved through stretching. There are two things that I have been focusing on. First, you can practice yoga. Yoga is extremely beneficial for runners. I don’t always have time to go to the yoga studio but I do have a wii fit with yoga and it’s a great alternative. I was also fortunate to learn about Phil Wharton’s Active Isolated Stretching method. This has been invaluable for me. You can learn more about this method and watch one of the videos here. I highly recommend it especially if you, like me, are prone to injury.

Practicing forward momentum was a tough one for me and I’m still struggling with it. The idea is to lean forward from your ankles and keep your head level and avoid bouncing. I watch videos of some of the best runners in the world to help me learn this but I continue to struggle and I still bounce. If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestion.

Relax the body!

Practice running relaxed. I know it sounds kind of silly but it was really hard for me to do, probably the hardest. I tend to have really stiff posture and running relaxed and fast has never been easy for me. I watched videos of Paula Radcliffe to try to learn how to relax and understand her form but the thing that worked best for me was practicing the following:

Keeping my elbows bent at 90 degrees, even in the back swing. Much to my surprise, this was hard, and something I still struggle with but I’m about 80 % better than I was.

Jogging with my hands on my head to learn to keep my core straight. (My neighbors already think I’m an idiot so I wasn’t worried about doing this one but you could do it in your backyard if you’re concerned. I wouldn’t suggest trying this on a treadmill though because I think it would be dangerous).

Shoulder raises at certain intervals while running. (You basically raise your shoulders up to your ears for a few seconds and then lower them). I started off doing this every ½ mile for the first few weeks and then every mile. Now I do it every 2 or 3 miles.

Practicing Speed

I accomplished this by adding in at least one speed session each week. It can be anything from running hills to fartleks or even a tempo run. Speedwork will definitely help you increase your speed.

I’m still working on it and I hope that with time and practice I’ll get better and better. Of course this would all be much easier if I had the new Garmin 620 which is like a Coach on your wrist. (Another shameless plug for #Garmin, are you listening Garmin?)

Do you have any suggestions for working on running form? Do you think better form helps increase your speed?