I sat down with the very friendly and passionate Jodie Cumner, the founder and run coach of In Form Running. Jodie shared her thoughts and experience on all things running as we enjoyed a takeaway coffee from a great local cafe here on the Gold Coast hinterland.
Jodie is a Level 2 accredited run coach and personal trainer for both adults and children, primarily focusing on running technique, fitness, injury management and performance. Through her love of running Jodie has been able to help others achieve their goals while building a fantastic running community amongst her athletes here on the Gold Coast. In addition to her professional run coaching Jodie voluntarily leads a female trail running group, “Trail Chix”. The Trail Chix is for ladies of all abilities and has become very popular not just for the running and great coaching from Jodie but also the friendships that it has helped runners form.
“who wouldn’t love running through this beautiful place and combining friendship, nature and exercise?”
When Covid-19 impacted our lives and “life as we knew it” changed, gyms closed and a whole new wave of runners were born. So we decided to pair up with In Form Running to go through some of the most commonly asked running related coaching questions to help and to learn more about the wonderful Jodie and her personal journey.
We hope you enjoy reading this as much I enjoyed the chat with Jodie and can take something away from Jodie’s experience to help you with your running goals, whatever they may be.
What is the most common thing that runners get wrong?
I would say the most common thing I see is poor running posture. Many of my athletes come to me with pre-existing injuries or niggles which can be helped to heal or even solved through being taught the correct running technique. Correcting your technique involves many aspects such as foot placement, bad upper body form and over striding.
What is the most important piece of running equipment to not “skimp” on?
Good shoes! It is so important to have yourself fitted with correct shoes. Everyone’s feet are different and I advise on getting fitted by someone with this knowledge.
What is your number one training tip?
Be consistent, but do not over-train. Run to your current skill level. You will improve with time and consistency, but build up slowly and work on developing or learning a good running posture/form.
How long does it take to train for an event?
This is different for every athlete as it depends on your current skill level, the distance that you are training for or even the time that you have to dedicate to training. Depending on the distance, I encourage a 16-20 week program for longer races, then less for shorter races.
How do you stay motivated?
I am naturally an active person, but there are times when I feel flat and enjoy a nice sleep in. When I am training for an event, I have a clear goal and plan in mind which I find helps me to keep motivated. At the present time, with no races on my calendar, I try to mix up my training to keep things interesting. I set myself personal weekly challenges and train in different locations to keep my mind and senses stimulated.
Should I stretch before running?
This is such an important question. Yes, definitely Yes… Before running I always perform Active Stretching or Dynamic Stretching. This stretching prepares your muscles, warms up the body and takes the muscles through their full range of motion. All preparing your body for what activity you are about to participate in.
Should I run if my legs are sore?
This depends on the type of soreness. If it is muscle soreness, then yes, it is ok to run, all be it a gentle one. Running at an easy pace for small distances. We damage our muscles when we run in the form of small tears that repair and grow stronger. If the soreness is more intense and causes pain, then no. Stop running and rest or seek medical advice.
How often should I run?
This again comes down to your skill level, reason for running and how often you can fit running into your lifestyle. I encourage my athletes to have at least one, but favour two days off of running every week. Beginners, I find may run every second or third day. This is a personal choice and may be goal orientated. I personally have two days off of running a week, but will participate in some kind of light activity on these Rest Days.
How do I know when I need new running shoes?
Again, this depends on the amount of km’s that the athlete runs and the terrain that they run on. Shoes have a cushioning that needs time to re-inflate after they are worn. I have two pairs of running shoes on the go at any one time so that I am able to alternate my shoes to allow for this. I find that I am able to get more mileage out of them this way. When your tread starts to wear underneath your shoes, or you may feel some aches in your feet or legs, it may be time to have a good look at your shoes. A running shop assistant will be able to look at your shoes and give you their expert advice.
How do I breathe correctly when I run?
This totally comes down to personal choice. There are a lot of opinions and theory’s out there about this subject. This can come back to your individual biomechanical makeup. I personally am a mouth-mouth breather when running. That is, I breathe in through my mouth and out through my mouth. Some advise on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. It is really a personal choice, as long as you are getting in enough oxygen to fuel your muscles.
What age should kids start running?
I live by the saying, ‘The human body was made to move.’ Running improves their gross motor skills, which they need to get them around physically, but also shows that the brain, muscles, and nerves are all functioning in sync. There have been little studies to show what age a child should start running, with most believing that if they are excited and interested in running and there are no injuries, running at any age is acceptable. As a qualified run coach, I am able to teach children running techniques from when they can run, up until they are elderly and can no longer run.
What benefits do children have by running?
There are endless benefits for children to start or continue running. As previously mentioned, it’s beneficial for motor neuron development, but will also assist with building endurance through their short play or aerobic activity. Running brings children a sense of freedom, accomplishment, team work, belonging, and most importantly FUN. I will coach any child that can follow directions and that are enjoying running.
Do you have a preference for trail or road running?
Not at all. I have been road running for 10 years and trail running for 6 years. I include both in my training as well as strength and stretching. I admire the beauty and scenery everywhere I run, and as such, I am able to enjoy both equally. Trail running can take you to the most incredible places, just as I find road running can.
Why do you love running?
What’s not to love about running! I feel alive, free, enlightened, privilege, comfort, happiness just to name a few. I have a holistic approach to my personal running, which I believe, helps with the simple, pure joy that it brings to my life. Learning the proper techniques make the effort easier. Learning to feel the terrain, how your body moves, being in the moment and having awareness of all of this adds to the enjoyment that running gives back to me.
What is your favourite running event?
Mmmm… This is a difficult one to answer. I, like most runners have a bucket list. Though mine is places, experiences, cultures and travel, not so much times and distances. I tend not to repeat running races, as I personally feel that there are so many great races and places out there for me to experience from a running perspective. Combining a race with a holiday for me is perfect. You can see so much of a place and experience the cultures through running around and through it. My personal favourite, well I have a close two, are The Great Wall of China Marathon and the New York Marathon. The local spectators at both races, though completely worlds apart, were like nothing I’ve seen.
How did you get into running?
I was always a distance runner in primary school, but only took it up again 10 years ago. Fitness was an important mental release from my previous occupation. I then started seeing the same people out on my runs, at the same races and have since made some of the most amazing friendships and spiritual connections with other runners. In 2014 I suffered from depression, which meant that I was medically retired from my previous employment and running became my stress release. I then found that running allowed me to share experiences, moments and friendships that helped me through a difficult time.
What does running do for your mental health?
Running is so important for my own mental health. The happiness, sense of self worth, freedom, memories. All of these things plus much, much more. When I am having an ‘off’ day, I will go for a run and will come back often with more clarity and hence a sense of calm. I get to run and think about my day, or what is bothering me. Just me, running and my thoughts. To me that’s pretty powerful and something I don’t take for granted. Not everyone gets this from running, perhaps another sport, but in general exercise, in any form you are involved in, is such a powerful tool in relation to mental health.
What is your greatest running achievement?
My greatest running achievement I would have to say is actually not running at all. Well, it is, but in the sense of coaching. Doors open and close on occupations, relationships etc, which lines our path through our life journeys. Mine had bought me to this very place that I am now at. Coaching athletes, both adults and children running techniques. The sense of pride, respect, admiration, and pure joy that I get from seeing all of my athletes running. Whether it be without injury, for fitness, personal goals, distance, times, or many other reasons. My greatest running achievement is community. Building a happy healthy community where athletes can come along and feel a part of it. Where everyone is supportive, equal and respected. That is my running achievement.
What a great insight into not just the thoughts of a running coach, but a wonderful person that is very much part of the fabric of the Gold Coast running community.
If you would like to get in touch with Jodie at In Form Running you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/informrunningjodie/ and Instagram @informrunningjodie
Written by Lauren Darcy & Jodie Cumner