PowerCranks and Running
The three keys to running fast are:
1. Lots of practice.
2. Having a good running economy.
3. Avoiding injury.
PowerCranks can help with all three of the above as they are interrelated. Let's examine them.
Lots of practice. Everyone knows that "running more" can make one faster but this has its own problems because, as the mileage goes up the stress on the body goes up. Running more will not make you faster if it means you will become injured. Many elite runner's are always on the edge of serious injury if not constantly bothered with nagging injury, they simply cannot run more or harder than they already do. And, if the form is not good, as the mileage goes up the liklihood of injury goes up. One other problem with running more is it takes more time. Not everyone has more time to give or, if you are a professional and have 24 hours a day to devote to running, any increase in running time subtracts from your rest and recovery time, another necessary element.
Running economy is a term that describes how much oxygen it takes to cover a certain amount of distance. The less oxygen it takes you to go 1 km the more economical you are. The more economical you are the faster you can go before you start going anerobic. That is cool but what does it mean to you? Well some aspects of running economy (e.g., muscle fibre type) may be out of your control. But, other aspects (e.g., running form) can be manipulated. An excellent discussion of how running economy is associated with running speed can be found here. Here is a graph from that discussion illustrating the importance of this concept.
Avoiding injury is related to both of the above elements. The more one runs the more stress is put on the body and the less time there is for rest and recovery so one is more likely to become injured. And, poor running economy also places more stress on the body for any given amount of running, making rest and recovery time even more important.
PowerCranks can help with all three. The PowerCranks coordination is about as close to actual good running form as one can get without the pounding. As regards running form, most people have never had anyone explain to them what good running form involves and, even if they understand this, they don't know how to effectively change their form to something closer to the ideal. PowerCranks encourage good running form without any additional impact stress on the body. The reason good running form is so important is it reduces the stress on the body at any given speed. So, as one develops better running form, not only are they running more economically, they are putting less stress on the body at any given speed. And, putting less stress on the body during training should result in fewer "overuse" injuries.
So, getting faster involves both improving running economy and avoiding injury and the two of these go hand in hand if one incorporates PowerCranks into training.
Improving running economy involves improving running form so lets talk about the changing to an improved form. Just because you think you know what "perfect" form is doesn't mean you can achieve it simply by thinking about form when you run. The reason this is so difficult is explained here by Rober Krulwich of NPR. It is almost impossible to improve coordination by thinking about it. However, if one can avoid the thinking and get the feedback to occur at the spinal cord level then we are talking turkey. That is what PowerCranks does. We have made a video that tries to explain what is good running form and how the PowerCranks help achieve that.
The vast majority of our triathlete customers are reporting run improvement starting in 2 weeks. The only reasonable explanation for this rapid improvement is the PowerCranks training is improving their running economy.
And, how do the PowerCranks help avoid injury. Well, besides improving your running form you are also doing so without any impact when you are on the PowerCranks. So, one can increase the intensity of one's workouts without increasing the pounding on the joints or any risk of "twisting" an ankle. Plus, many non-contact injuries are associated with muscle imbalances. The independent nature of the the PowerCranks ensures the the muscles become balanced, both right/left and fore/aft further reducing the risk of injuries like hamstring or groin pulls".
And, if the runner is already injured, PowerCranks is a great rehab tool, allowing them to maintain good muscle endurance and running mechanics even if they are not able to run.
The typical triathlete PowerCranks runner is gaining about 1 minute per mile in speed within about 3 months of regular use. Elite runners are, of course, not seeing such huge increases but Mirinda Carfrae, who set a run course record at her very first Ironman distance race, the Ironman World Championships, reported that the first change she saw when starting PowerCranks training was in her running, not in her cycling. (watch her video) PowerCranks can be a very powerful training tool for runners at all levels.
In summary, the secret to running faster, beyond normal improvement that comes from running more and harder (training effect), is specific training that improves running form, specific training that improves running efficiency, specific training that trains muscle weaknesses and ensures balance, and specific training that helps avoid injury. And, if the athlete is injured, specific rehabilitation training that helps ensure rapid recovery from that injury while not losing any running fitness. PowerCranks can help with all of the above.