Motivation Run Like Andre

Run Like Andre

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Reid Coolsaet, Olympian and second fastest Canadian marathoner in history, breaks down Andre’s form.

I like that Andre is a team player and it’s evident he’s having fun on the track. Andre’s slight frame is outside the typical sprinter mold, but Usain Bolt was further outside the mold at 6’5″. When the stakes are high, Andre is clutch. This is how he runs.

HIS HEAD: Unless you’re on the trails, don’t look down. Distance running is about conservation of energy: hold your head straight, no bobbing. (Quick tip: if you’re running up a hill, look straight ahead, not upwards—that can be daunting.)

HIS ARMS: My elbows, like most runners, stay fixed—the path of least resistance saves energy. When your arm is back, your hand is beside your hip. When Andre’s arm is back, his hand is behind his butt. That may propel him, but it’s tiring to do. Straight up and down is best for your arms.

HIS HIPS: His hips twist a little, but you don’t want them to. Don’t dip from side to side. There’s twisting in your hips, torso, and back, and you offset that balance with one leg forward and one arm backwards. Your body’s not a block of wood—it moves a bit—but a coach wouldn’t say “Twist a little more.” Andre is a pretty straight runner and he’ll keep it that way.

HIS KNEES: Think of swinging a pendulum: if you have your heel to your butt when you come forward, you use less energy. To bring your knee forward, swing your leg forward rather than having your heel travel very far.

HIS STRIDE: Once you slow down, your stride isn’t as long. Marathoners don’t do the full range of movement before putting their foot on the ground, hence the “marathon shuffle.” Don’t pound, keep your head on an even level as much as you can. Study Lanni Marchant’s stride—she shuffles, she doesn’t pound.

HIS AIR TIME: Bouncing is a waste of energy. You want your energy to be used moving forward, not up and down. All your force should propel you forward, but if you’re not in the air, you’re walking. The faster you run, the longer you’ll be up in the air.

HIS FOOTFALL: Most marathoners are heel strikers, including myself. You might think some of the Kenyans are toe strikers, but they hit their heel—it’s just that by the time their heel hits, they’re moving forward. The trick is spending minimal time on your heels. Andre, like all sprinters, uses his toes.       

Reid Coolsaet is once again returning to racing, following an injury. He’s looking for big races in 2018, after some smaller ones. To follow his progress, see reidcoolsaet.com.