As a coach, I need to first understand my athletes before I can help them achieve their goals. Often what works for one athlete may not work for another. When it comes to running form, I’ve compiled a variety of sayings and mental cues to bring all the pieces together, and by pieces I mean all body parts are moving in the most efficient manner for running.
I had the pleasure to train Lena Dunham from the TV show Girls, and my job was to help her look like a more well-conditioned runner than she actually was. Being around runners for most of my life has provided me with some pretty clear images of what runners at a variety of experience levels look like. From these images and academic knowledge, I coach. Toward the end of my session with Lena, I gave her some mental cues to think about while practicing her running so that she wouldn’t have to worry about all the details. I wanted her to focus on a larger theme that would bring all the movements we had previously practiced together. "Run Arrogant" was the cue that stuck!
When I say "Run Arrogant", I’m asking the runner to think about that effortlessly cool and confident guy or girl you’ve seen walking down the street. Envision how they were running (or walking). They were tall, relaxed, confident, and perhaps even had a smirk across their face. These are great characteristics for running form too! If you do not believe me, have a look at the elite runners on YouTube or at your next local race. Of course they look arrogant - they have trained their butts off before the competition and are confident in their abilities (as they should be)!
I’m really happy this cue worked for Lena. We had a blast together. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what will resonate with the client. I’ve found that by compiling everything I learn and passing this knowledge to my athletes at the appropriate time is the best way to help them achieve their goals.