Tension, Impact Force, and Energy Return: A Running Technique Masterclass

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.

African runners

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

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Links & Resources from the Show:

Thank You XOSKIN!

Thank you to our newest sponsor, XOSKIN, who’s offering 20% off with code ‘SR’ at checkout! I was introduced to this company a few months ago and have been impressed with the quality of the shorts, socks, and shirt that I’ve been wearing.

XOSKIN is the only seamless athletic apparel brand in the United States, using 3-dimensional knit structures and their patented materials (PTFE and Copper) to create apparel with superior wicking and drying capabilities that work in all kinds of environments and conditions. Their apparel has been used in some of the most challenging races in the world, from Death Valley in the middle of summer, to the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic. 

XOSKIN’s material feels great against the skin and the fit is so comfortable you’ll forget you’re even wearing it.  Their patented materials are your best defense against chafing, blisters, hot spots and odor.  Unlike most technology in athletic apparel which is gone after a few washes, XOSKIN’s RapiDriCopper™ technology is molecularly boned to the fiber and won’t wash out.

Be sure to check out XOSKIN to see all of their shirts, tights, socks, compression sleeves, and more. Their clothes are made for both men and women so you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

Use code SR (not case sensitive) to get 20% off your order!

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt