Cumbria Crack

Top athletes team up to help Lakes runners

Sarah McCormack
Sarah McCormack

[T]wo of the north-west’s top athletes have joined forces to teach skilful running technique in the Lake District.

Ultra-runner and endurance athlete Paul Tierney has been joined by Irish international runner Sarah McCormack to offer Born to Run technique coaching, classes and workshops, as well as sports massage and online training programmes.

McCormack, born in Michigan of Irish and Cumbrian parents, is a former Irish cross country champion and twice winner of the Snowdon fell race. She’s been a member of medal winning teams at the World Mountain Running championships and the European cross country championships.

Paul Tierney
Paul Tierney

Tierney, the UK’s head coach of the Born to Run technique is a former Irish hurling player who turned to mountain running. He twice represented his country at the World Ultra Trail Championships, and is a former winner of the Lakeland 100 race and the Old Counties Tops fell race.

They are now offering one-to-one running technique sessions designed for all runners, from beginner to elite-level athletes, who would like to learn the skill of running more naturally and efficiently.  This involves screening to assess current running technique and identify biomechanical ‘weak links’ that may be causing pain or susceptibility to injury.

The screening includes video analysis of your running, testing of your mobility and stability, and assessment of your footwear and foot function.  They then provide a bespoke training programme of technique and conditioning drills to help you run more efficiently, powerfully and with a reduced risk of injury.

Another service for those who live in different parts of the country is bespoke online coaching to help you make the most of your training and achieve your performance goals.  “We can provide structure to your training with a personalised plan that is updated each week as you progress towards your long-term aims,” says McCormack.  “We’ll help you to ensure that you strike the right balance between training intensity and recovery, and that your fitness peaks coincide with your most important races.”

They do advise that, if possible, new clients should have an initial visit to their Ambleside clinic in the Lake District for a biomechanical screening and running technique analysis.  “This allows us to flag up any issues which could cause pain or injury, and pre-emptively address them with a simple, personalised strength and mobility programme.  We also use this opportunity to lead you through a heart rate test on the treadmill to help inform the target paces we’ll set in your programme and allows us to track your progress.”

They find that their sessions are appreciated by road runners and, increasingly, triathletes.

Along with individual coaching, their company, Missing Link Fitness, also offers running classes in Kendal and Ambleside, sports massage, and two-day “Bulletproof Runner” workshops. These involve screening for injury susceptibility, video analysis of running technique and how to apply the appropriate drills to address individual issues, learning the best neuromuscular drills to increase elasticity, speed and performance, and how to structure training, lifestyle and diet for maximum recovery and gains in performance.

The next sessions are September 3-4 in Ambleside, Cumbria, and October 1-2 at Charterhouse Club, Surrey.

The Born to Run coaching model was developed by world-leading running technique coach Lee Saxby, after years of studying the biomechanics of natural human populations.  “Born to Run coaching is dedicated to reconnecting human beings with their innate running skills,” says Tierney.

“By adjusting the three fundamental ‘micro-skills’ of posture, rhythm and relaxation we can dramatically influence the ‘macro-skill’ of running. We can create a better runner by improving the biomechanics associated with greater efficiency and reduced risk of injury.”

For more information see the website

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