A lot of coaches and run analysts have spent many hours watching how runners run. Elite runners and triathletes can be categorized into two basic styles: Gazelles and Gliders.
Gazelles tend to spend more time airborne with a springy running style while Gliders tend to stay closer to the ground but maintain quicker leg turnover (cadence).
I found this video on Youtube from the TTBikeFit guys out of Rhode Island.
It is 25 minutes of time well spent looking at the two running styles. The analysis basically concludes that neither style is better than another as long as we run correctly for that style.
James Dunne of Kinetic Revolution in the UK adds a sub-category which really addresses how the average recreational runner tends to run. He refers to it as Broken Glider. This is essentially shuffling along with a low-to-the-ground style and not very fast leg turnover.
So… what to do with this information and how does it help your running?
- First off, find out what type of runner you tend to be. It may be helpful to have your training partner video you while running. Do you bounce, do you glide, or do you shuffle?
- Second, count the number of strides you take while running for one minute. Do this several times during a run and over several different runs to get an average.
- Now, work on drills and exercises that make you more efficient at being either a Gazelle or a Glider.
Here’s another video showing of some form drills to help your running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_HKaTPD7ZE .
These drills may not turn you into an elite athlete, but they will help make you a more efficient runner.