Kevin and I went last night to Playmakers in Okemos for the Good Form Running (GFR) Level 1 Clinic. The GFR Level 1 is a free course they offer and runs about 90 minutes. It was a fantastic course that I'd highly reccomend. If you're note familiar with Playmakers (they also own the New Balance store in Farmington Hills) it's a great store that while their shoes aren't cheap, they really know what they're doing around running and other sports and go the extra mile to make sure you've got the right gear.
The class was taught by the owner of the store (Curt) and two pro-athletes; one an ex-pro-cycler and another another an olympic mile runner. They started the class by giving a quick overview and then taking us outside and video taping us running. They then took us through some fundamentals of running around posture, foot-strike, arms and head position. We then watched some tape of running being done correctly, in particular, last year's summer olympics featuring one of the instructors (Grant, pictured on the left) running the mile (which he ran in a 3m37s!) along with a couple of Kenyons. From there we watched the video of as they pointed out what we were doing right and wrong. They spent the last 15 minutes by going through more detail on cadence and how to start incorporating these chagnes into your run. It was a great class, and it was free.
They've got a level two class which I'm signed up for. The class is taught by the same instructors but smaller (6 people) and involves my personalized instruction on the things they reviewed in the class.
What I really liked about the class was that the instructors didn't come at it as if they knew everything. They talked about how they figured this stuff out and the difference it had made in their lives and their running. Even the olympic runner talked about how bad his form was and the difference in terms of the ease of running and the wear and tear on his body since he'd improved his form.
In the class they talked about some of the benefits of running barefoot, and how people are using these five finger glove shoes to achieve the same effect without cutting the bottoms of their feet. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that, but it should be interesting to try incorporating all of this stuff into my running. I'm sure I'll be a mess for a while.