running technique - piggyback drill


i heard someone say that it takes 50 year for new knowledge to be universally accepted. this means that since knowledge is proven it takes 50 years for everybody to share it to everybody, for people to accept it as common. this is with mass media. it is not relevant if 50 years is a correct period, what matters is that for knowledge to spread it takes a long time.

someone knows something but for that someone it is very hard to explain it to the rest of us what is something is. we should not use oil powered cars, we should not eat sugar, we should pay taxes etc… usually people that make things are not best at communicating the benefits of these things. engineering and communication of engineering to masses are two different things. communication requires engineering as well.

one of my favorite examples of really simple engineering is running technique (again i thank ole for inspiring me to venture into this field). people have been running for a long time. we are programmed to run, we learn it at a very early age automatically. however this does not mean it can not be engineered (designed).

i am really inspired by people who – in 2011 – decide to dedicate their lives to changing something so basic as how we run… to optimize what nature (or god or aliens) have busted their heads on for couple of eons.

however for these people changing biomechanics of running is easy. the real problem is how to explain it to the rest of us, that we should relearn something we learned when we were only few years old. how is this new knowledge communicated so it is taken seriously and that it is effective – affects desired change?

one common way of teaching people something new (communicating new knowledge) is to put them in situations through which they can realize the benefit, have a new point of view, be challenged… there are many ways and many sciences are dedicated to figuring out what is the best way.

one tool used to teach new running technique are running drills. person is asked to perform a specific move in order to achieve different point of view or feeling of body or to be put in a situation from which they have to rapidly learn. discovering and designing such drills is not an easy task. for example in swimming they are very particular.

i accidentally discovered a nice running drill which demonstrates a clear benefit of higher cadence: piggyback riding.

pick up anyone, carry them on your back, and try to run in sub 90 cadence and you will get tired after 10secs. try same with higher cadence and it is much easier. simple! additional 50+kg on your back makes any error extreme and obvious. if you run badly you can survive for an hour without much damage but loosing few secs per km, so the error is not recognized and remains. but with such an extreme condition of doubling your body weight the error is immediately obvious and muscles give immediate signals something is not right.

try it.

simple “open source” communication tools like this drill can make a difference.