The problem with this advice is that posture should be unconscious - just look at any young child: perfect posture, movement, and running form and they never are thinking about how they are moving, they are just moving. All these running coaches have it right - that posture matters - but are going about it all wrong. We must change the underlying muscle imbalances and lack of function and joint range of motion so that good posture is natural, unconscious, and always there.
If a runner (or running coach as we'll see below) has bad posture standing, they will for sure have bad posture while running. It's just the way the body works. But if you have good posture standing, you will have good posture running.
Most coaches are handing you a bucket and saying "use this bucket to scoop out the water leaking into the boat to keep the boat from sinking". I want to teach you how to fix the leak (bad posture) in the boat (your body) so you don't have to worry about any water (injuries) getting in and the bucket (conscious control of posture/form and management of symptoms) isn't needed.
Here's a snapshot of a running coach from her youtube video talking about good running posture and softening the knees:
Here's her running in place with soft knees trying to show good running form:
- Notice how her feet are abducted (turned out) and knees are adducted (knock-kneed). Soft knees might be ok, but they won't leave her running pain free without the strong hip muscles needed to support her knees and keep them from collapsing in.
Here are two more running coaches talking about posture and running form:
- He is showing a lateral head tilt, uneven shoulder, arm, and hand position, eternally rotated femurs, abducted feet, and a wide stance.
- She has a large hip disparity where she is only loading her right hip while hyperextending her right knee, abducting her right foot, dropping her left shoulder and hip, and externally rotating her left knee and foot.
Both of them are showing signs of unstable hips - him because of his wide stance and turned out feet and her because of her hyperextension of the loaded leg and hands of her hips which means her hips don't want to hold up her upper body and her upper back is fatigued from doing it all day long.
Here he is shown from the side and while he is talking about standing up tall, what he is really doing is going into a major swayback posture which is a sign of hip weakness and instability. I'm sure he is using his calves to help hold him up here instead of his hip musculature.
She is shown running and it is obvious that her hips are unstable. Her right knee is collapsing inward in a valgus position and internal rotation. Her right hip flexor is weak and this is causing excessive left arm-swing across her body.
If you are a running coach, elite or recreational runner, or other healthcare professional that works with runners, contact me and I'd be happy to help you understand how posture, form, and running pain free are interconnected and easily achievable.
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