With the 2011 Ironman World Champs in Kona coming up this weekend (at the time of posting this), now’s a great time for us to look back at some running footage from Kona 2009.
In the video below, we identify a few of the important running technique factors that made Craig “Crowie” Alexander such an unstoppable force on the run that day. Using this iconic piece of footage, where Crowie took the lead from Chris Lieto at the 21 mile mark, we can compare stride-by-stride how the two runners habitually moved once fatigued, and see the differences in their technique which affected their running performance.
The focus on effectively using your hamstrings as part of your running technique is an important part of the work do at Kinetic Revolution to improve the running performance of triathletes. By running using your hamstrings in combination with your quads and hip flexors you share the muscular load throughout the bike and run – rather than relying on the quads and hip flexors from the moment you leave the water until the end of the race!
Read Part 2: “Want To Run Strong Off The Bike?” to learn how to adapt your training to improve your running form.
Running Technique Quick Guide [FREE PDF]
Thank you, that was very informative.
I would also point out, in the moments leading up to the pass, Crowie has a higher cadence and Lieto appears to put more energy into his frame (noticed by the difference in bounce). Crowie’s leg passes under his body at the same angle once impact is made. Lieto’s knee continues to bend and he re-fires his quads to push himself forward (energy absorbed, energy wasted).
Once passed, Lieto straightens up, his cadence and form improves to match Crowie. He soon looses form again when dropped.
Like you said these are both great athletes and these differences are often evidence of “fatigue” rather than an error in an athlete’s form. I am sure these magnified differences would be nearly impossible to detect when the two athletes were fresh.
Thank you again for posting this.
Thanks for the comment. Absolutely agree with your observations.
I wanted to focus on hamstring activity under fatigue with my input here and leave the floor open for discussion…
It’s always interesting to see what changes in form occur when an athlete is under fatigue / pressure and at what point of fatigue this happens. You’re right, Lieto runs beautifully when fresh, even when just less fatigued.
One of the challenges of the run is obviously how far into fatigue you can maintain good form… Not just limited by metabolic fitness, local muscle endurance and strength, but also how well formed the neuromuscluar movement patterns are – I mean how far you can push yourself before technique begins to break down and your body reverts to the path of least resistance (quads and hip flexors normally).
I’d love to know if Crowie does/has ever done much running technique work to refine and ingrain these good movement patterns, or is it all just sickeningly natural for him?!
Quick question……what software are you using there dart ish?
Thanks for the comment. I’m using ObjectusVideo Home on a MacBook Pro using iShowU HD for the screencast.
I hope that helps.
Really great content! I thing we missed niche blog on running form, and expert bloggers on this.
James, are there any suggestions from you in improving our own technique if it is similar to Lieto. “Actively lifting with hamstring”, does it mean to make this movement conscious?
What do you think, is Lieto weak in core (abs), or why he is falling front.
I have a similar problems like him.
p.s. look on Lietos face and his reaction when Crowie is crossing 🙂
Hi, from Belgrade
To begin with you will certainly need to make the movement of picking the foot up using your hamstrings conscious.
Often I find that the slumped forward position is a result of under-active glutes, overactivity in the hip flexors (not helped by hours on the bike) can be an issue here.
Best of luck with your training!
Great analysis, really helps me understand what I need to aim for in terms of picking my heels up. Hard not to flick heels, need to lift and get the feeling of cycling feet through rather than dragging. I can’t get this yet. Amazing content here. Love it.
That short video and analysis totally changed my run training as a triathlete. I’ve always been “quad focused” and haven’t been able to spread the work, so to speak. Amazing, thank you!!
Great video! Learned a lot . Completely understood what you ment by short pendulum with the knee. Got to work on getting out of my quad heavy running. This really helps 🙂
I’ve read a few books and even taken video of my running but this analysis only emphasized how I’m running and where I can improve! Lots of work ahead but good to know the opportunity is there. Perhaps some drills to offer might be further helpful, including (but not limited to): greater hamstring involvement/development, body positioning, driving forward with hips (instead of upper body), etc.? Thanks!
Very interesting……… I’ve added some of the stretches and strength training to my schedule and noticed improvements, even at my great age of 56 and training for a half marathon. I’ve tried to alter my posture when running and this helps too, trouble is when outside and trotting along I can’t remember very much of anything I’ve read, I’m so focused on traffic, the road/pavement and not falling over!! But will keep going, need some tips for oldies please? I’ve always jogged/hiked and kept generally fit and really want to be running when I’m 95…………..on a low sugar diet at present which has had massive change in shifting extra fat and re-shaping my body-looks a lot better! I’d like some sort of no or low sugar gel for long runs? Maybe I’ve missed some videos as new to you! Love all your helps, especially with your ‘running buddy’ and elite running lady