Are You ‘Fixing’ Your Running Form Like A Rubik Cube?

While I’m well aware that I’m dating myself by asking this question, did you have a Rubik Cube when you were growing up? I did and unlike those geniuses that can take one look at it, get blindfolded and solve it in a matter of seconds… I struggled to even get one side to match!

Running Form Analogy

While the Rubik Cube looks nothing like our bodies, there are some parallels in regard to form, and moreover, trying to attain better form.

Let’s erroneously assume for second that a solved Rubik Cube equates to perfect form. This is erroneous because ‘perfect’ running form does not exist – primarily because what constitutes perfect form is different based on the individual. But I digress…

As an example, let’s say that the Rubik Cube below and to the left is your current running form, and the Rubik Cube to the below right is what you’re looking to attain in respect to perfect running form.

More specifically, let’s assume that each side of the Rubik Cube is a different running form area that you’re looking to improve upon. For example, below are six fictitious area/sides:

  1. Left foot over pronation
  2. Convert from heel strike to midfoot strike
  3. Elevated right shoulder
  4. Left knee medially rotates
  5. Functional right leg length discrepancy
  6. Underactive left glute max

Again, these are made up issues.

Kinetic Chain

Almost nothing in the body works in isolation. While a lot of athletes in theory understand this, it doesn’t stop most of them from addressing an issue at the point of form modification/pain/injury versus looking at the body as a whole integrated system, and trying to seek out the origin of an issue.

In simplistic terms, if you zoom in on an area of pain/running form to ‘fix,’ you’ll likely mess up another area in the process… or at the very least and as noted above, not actually address the root cause.

Just One Side

I don’t know about you, but the above image is about as far as I got with solving a Rubik Cube and therefore, this was my version of success! While I was fine with it (OK, not really), a Rubik Cube is not your body.

Here’s what happens. You solve one side of the cube (great, you’re a genius!) and then when you start trying to solve another side, your perfectly solved side that you worked on for the last 30 minutes is now a convoluted mess of colors… @$#&!!!!

This is akin to addressing one body part, or one issue in isolation. Yes, you might have ‘solved’ your medial knee displacement by switching to shoes with a high heel-to-foot drop, but what did you alter, and for lack of a better word, ‘mess up’ in the process?

As noted as side one of the fictitious Rubik Cube above, maybe you fixed your left foot pronation by adding an orthotic and changing to motion control shoes, but now you started having lateral knee pain on the same leg that you just ‘fixed.’ Hmmm….

Get Professional Help

As the body is interconnected and thus, interrelated (like the Rubik Cube), it is complicated to say the least. As is noted in our UESCA running coach certification, when making changes to your running form or trying to solve an injury that has been affecting you that rest didn’t solve, it is advised to seek out someone such as physical therapist that can evaluate your body as whole and can make recommendations. All too often, physical therapists and like clinicians are viewed as the people to see when you get injured. While this is true, they are also a great source in terms of injury prevention and/or possible form modifications.

As noted above, you want the access to the equivalent of the guru that can solve the Rubik Cube… but for your body. And while I wouldn’t condone a physical therapist that says they can solve your issue in 10 seconds and blindfolded, that would be pretty impressive if they could!!

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Rick Prince is the founder/director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science-based endurance sports education company. UESCA educates and certifies running and triathlon coaches (cycling and ultrarunning coming soon!) worldwide on a 100% online platform.

Click here to download the UESCA Triathlon Course Overview/Syllabus

Click here to download the UESCA Running Course Overview/Syllabus

Rick Prince

Rick Prince

Founder/Director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA).

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