#WSSC15th: Running from Scratch

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Happy Friday to you all! Today I have recap #1 from the World Spinning and Sports Conditioning Conference. The conference started last Friday, and I was lucky enough to squeeze in a session that afternoon.

Before I get into the meat of the session, I just have to say that I was really impressed with how organized the whole conference was. Signage and schedules were readily available, the expo had a good flow (photo of test equipment below), and the overall vibe was calm but buzzing with energy at the same time.

world spinning and sports conditioning conference, wssc 2014, wssc miami, running from scratch, running basics, running drills, best running drills, best fitness blogs, miami blog, miami blog, alison hay, alison hay fitness, the fit chronicles, the fit chronicles blogI’m not a Spin person, so I didn’t attend any of the rides that they offered–and they offered a ton! But just hanging around and seeing the Spinning community interacting and making connections was fun to be a part of.

Below is one of the ballrooms that they transformed into a fitness center. This is where I had my first session:

world spinning and sports conditioning conference, wssc 2014, wssc miami, running from scratch, running basics, running drills, best running drills, best fitness blogs, miami blog, miami blog, alison hay, alison hay fitness, the fit chronicles, the fit chronicles blogMy first session? Running from Scratch. I was really excited for this one since I’m a runner and I’ve never taken a real running lesson. I’ve always wanted to learn more about proper form, etc., so this was my first eye-opening experience.

world spinning and sports conditioning conference, wssc 2014, wssc miami, running from scratch, running basics, running drills, best running drills, best fitness blogs, miami blog, miami blog, alison hay, alison hay fitness, the fit chronicles, the fit chronicles blogThe session was led by Cesar Valera, above, a 13-time IronMan and recently retired triathlete. He had a great personality for speaking to a group. His explanations were really easy to follow.

Anyway, he started out by breaking down the act of running. A guy next to me said that his teachings were similar to Chi running and Evolution running, two methods I hadn’t heard of until talking to that dude. Here is a FABULOUS article outlining exactly what these methods preach.

Here are some takeaways from the session:

  • Try to keep your ankle vertically in line with your hip–you don’t want your ankle to fly too far in front of your hips
  • When striking the ground, keep your foot vertically in line with your hip. It’s natural to want to strike in front of your body, but try to keep it in line with your body for minimal impact
  • Tuck your hips under, it allows for more movement from those hips
  • Open your chest, keep a good posture
  • Running should feel like you’re being pulled on a string from your belly
  • Keep your gaze about 20 to 30 feet in front of you for proper head alignment
  • Always keep yourself at a slight angle forward, like you’re starting a race. Once you feel yourself straightening up, lean forward again. Always be leaning forward

One thing I particularly loved was his stance on what to do with your arms while running. His motto was to basically just stop thinking so much about it–when you’re focusing so much on your legs, your arms will just naturally figure themselves out. He reminded us that the best of the best runners sometimes had freakish form in their arms, yet it still won them races.

But one piece of arm advice from him? Try not to let your arms cross the midline of your body–that just makes you less efficient.

Then we played a fun little game: we watched a video of a few elite runners and took our guess as to who ended up winning the race. The guy with the form mentioned above was the victor. Coincidence? I think not.

We ended the session with some drills. He said a simple search for “running drills” on YouTube can be rich with info. I have yet to try it, but it’s on my to-do list!

Stay tuned for recaps of my other sessions over the next couple of weeks!

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary pass to attend the World Spinning and Sports Conditioning Conference. All opinions are my own.