If you set out to learn from the best runners in the world, you will undoubtedly wind up in East Africa. Ethiopian and Kenyan runners have dominated the sport and continue to enthrall runners around the globe.
What is their secret? There’s no simple answer. It appears to go beyond their genetics and is impacted by a combination of lifestyle, training, culture, and metabolic efficiency.
Numerous studies, articles, and books have dived deep on this topic. In my recent interview with Michael Crawley, author of Out of Thin Air, we explored how the lives of Ethiopians are intertwined with running.
Research shows that some factors attributed to the unyielding dominance of East African runners include:
- Living and training at high altitudes
- Exposure to extensive amounts of walking and running from a young age
- High carbohydrate diet
- Favorable skeletal structures
- Strong motivation for economic and social advancement
- Exceptional biomechanics in movement
Each aspect can be explored in-depth in attempts isolate the key factor. In reality, it is likely the combination of all of them, plus others that we have yet to pinpoint.
Luckily, there are opportunities to learn and improve in the parts that we do understand. You might not become the next world record holder, but you’re likely to see tangible improvements in your running.
Improving the mechanics of our movement goes a long way to increasing our body’s efficiency while reducing the risk of injury. Today’s guest is going to zoom in on this topic with lots of actionable tips for all runners.
Shane Benzie Looks Differently at Our Skeleton and How We Move
Shane Benzie is a running coach, movement specialist, researcher and the founder of the Running Reborn coaching platform. He has worked with runners all over the world to help them harness their elasticity and improvement their movement.
His work has taken him to six continents and many different environments, where he lives and trains with elite athletes, tribes and indigenous people to crack the code of natural human movement and how to turn it into human performance.
Shane’s background as a runner is likely a familiar story filled with injuries, setbacks, and struggles to get faster. He stuck with the sport and became certified as a running coach. It wasn’t until his curiosity took him to Africa that he started to view running in a whole new way: a movement skill.
I particularly love how Shane describes our skeletal structure and the ability to generate elastic propulsion:
Check out the full episode where we cover topics on:
- Why impact doesn’t cause running injury but mismanagement of impact could
- How to assess your running form and what to look for
- Proper mechanics of a foot strike and push off
- Tips on moving beautifully while running
- What you can do in your daily non-running life to support your training
- How to modulate stride length while maintaining cadence
Links & Resources from the Show:
- Find Shane on Running Reborn
- Shane’s book: The Lost Art of Running
- Free Form Cues Worksheet mentioned in this episode
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