A few months back a friend of mine, who was an intern at a certain sports performance company, suggested I sign up for a seminar to hear THE Hybrid Athlete himself, Alex Viada from Complete Human Performance, speak. Well I rarely ever say no to a good seminar if I know I have the time and the scratch, in this case I had both so I got myself a spot to hear him speak.
OK so if you don't know who this guy is, he's the author of the book The Hybrid Athlete, he's a co-founder of Complete Human Performance in North Carolina and he's pretty damn good and getting people to both lift a ton of weight and run for awhile. The dude does ultra runs, yeah I'll let him do those because that's not only amazing but also maybe just a hint of crazy, he also use to power lift competitively. With all that, his methods may not be typical but they seem to be working pretty well for him and his athletes so I call his methods pretty damn good if you ask me.
Last Sunday was the seminar (I'm a bit late on the post I know I know), if for nothing else other than the stories he told about some of the events he's run, it was fantastic listening. Now obviously I wasn't just there to mesmerized by the stories of "bunking" and wanting to fall over before he could finish one of the many super long events (might've been an iron man) he had some great learning material as well. The point of my post today isn't to say everything that was discussed, after all the thing went all day so that's not happening, he did talk a brief bit about rugby so that got me all giggity for minute. The point is if you feel that cardio or conditioning or whatever you wish to call it, is a weakness for you, take it upon yourself to look up the next time he's in your area and listen to him speak or pick up his book Hybrid Athlete. I won't sit here and tell you all my conditioning issues are solved because that's just nonsense, 1 seminar (or book) doesn't mean you don't need to keep learning, but listening to him will surely give you a great start.
One thing I will touch on, since it's got a great deal to do with most people out there, running. The technique to long slow (or fast in some cases like Viada and his coaches) running certainly has some differences to the technique of sprinting. I don't think I'm too far off the mark in saying sprinting might get more picked apart by coaches than a squat.
Body position-Sprinting is taught to have some sort of forward lean, if not through the whole thing most of it. Certainly the acceleration part and sometimes the finish. Running as we'll call it here, is more about chest up and eyes forward the WHOLE time. Viada hit on that
Arm mechanics/placement-Arms have plenty to do with running, not getting into the science of how the brain works and how they're connected to your leg movement, but just trust me. Sprinting is taught to have the arms to be carried at 90 degrees and swing at the shoulder from chin to pocket, or something similar. Running still has the arms set around 90 degrees, but more or less keep them parallel to the ground as you run and fairly still.
Leg movement-Sprinting has a pretty big stress on getting your knees up to hip height, or there about, and driving your foot into the ground to propel you forward in as few strides as possible. Running doesn't involve picking your knees up nearly as high and the number of cycles or foot strikes is high if you're a better runner, very opposites.
Foot striking-Where your foot (or feet) makes contact with the ground in terms of part of the foot varies with sprinting and running. Sprinting is almost exclusively with the ball of the foot and the foot is quite rigid in dorsiflexion when it hits. Running it's a little more loosely defined, the ideal contact place for the foot will usually, usually mind you, be somewhere mid foot, but sometimes it CAN be heal. Not always the best but if it let's you bring your foot down without sounding like your driving a nail into 2x4 piece of wood, then yeah it's ok. It should be a nice easy glide when running, very little up and down movement for your body. Chances are you're about to do this for at least 20-40 minutes, why not make it easy on your body and land soft.
To summarize, figure out whether or not you're sprinting, rugby makes Jarrod very giggity and if you want to learn how to lift heavy things AND run absurdly long distances (or the like) start listening to Alex Viada and what he has to say. That's all I got today guys, go out there and get after it.