From Good Form to Good Life
By Mike Andersen
I started teaching Good Form Running six years ago when I helped open a small running specialty store in Michigan. I had taken the class a year prior and had that ‘ah ha’ moment during the lesson. I had been working on my technique and running skills since multiple stress fractures in college left me wondering if I was cut out for this running thing. At 6’1”, 175 pounds, I am not a typical elite runner (and no, I’m not calling myself elite anyway). I need to be extra cognizant of my form, as stress is multiplied in running by 3-4 times your body weight on impact. At 100 pounds, not so big a deal. At 175 (on a good day), it means a lot. I started filming myself in a parking lot at a park of which I frequented, and I’m sure I looked crazy. Two years later, I took Good Form Running and found like-minded people. Hey, you like filming runners, too!!!
After moving to Europe for a short stint, I came back to manage a store entirely based off of the Good Form idea. Each customer would receive a gait analysis, tips to on how to improve, and we would carry shoes that were made to help achieve better form. I was stoked.
Each Thursday I would psych myself up to deliver our message and help runners learn how to run without pain. I enjoyed the teaching aspect, this is what my degree is in, after all. We started to develop a reputation in our area and had full classes most weeks. We even had to add a Saturday class eventually to meet the demand.
A little over a year after the store opened I started to coach athletes as well. I focused on holistic running, making sure form was a central focus as well as healthy training. I believed that success did not depend on the ‘No pain, no gain’ idea and instead relied on consistency and slowly pulling fitness up through measured heart rate training. I had about 10 clients training for all sorts of races and enjoyed the mix and challenge they provided.
One of my most loyal and dedicated clients started to bring new runners to the store and to classes to try to get them interested in running efficiently and perhaps training for something in the future. I didn’t know it in that moment, but one of these friends that she brought would change my life. In September 2012, my client and friend Gina brought her co-worker Katie to attend Good Form Running and get fit for shoes. I remember fitting her for Asics Nimbus running shoes and having a pretty good turnout for class. I remember feeling a little spark as we chatted during the fit process. She’ll tell you I must have been distracted from the spark, since I apparently fit her in the ‘wrong’ shoe. Anyway, she took my class and a few months later contacted me to begin a coach/athlete relationship. Long story short, it turned out to be a great relationship, because I eventually asked her to marry me and we now have two beautiful daughters together.
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I think back to how much the discovery of Good Form Running meant to me and I look at where it’s taken me and I know that this whole thing makes sense. So, sign up for a Good Form class, you never know who might be sitting next to you, ready to change your life.