Training single components to simplify a stride to a 1-count.
This follows from the previous post “Training one component at a time.” As components become automatic, they can be connected to a new component. An example of this would be training the component of pulling the right foot back in the air with the glutes to contact under the hips. When this is automatic, after several weeks or months, add the focus of pulling the left knee forward with the hip flexors. These need to happen simultaneously so that the left knee and right foot align at ground contact. This is what I call a “one-count” stride. The maximum speed and optimal positions of both legs coincide at ground contact. The timing of both legs combines the forces that they generate to occur at the same time. By occuring at the same time, there is increased force on the ground, and decreased time for this to happen. This can also simplify the mechanics by allowing you to think about one thing in each stride.
The more common alternative is to have a “two-count” stride in which one foot lands then the other leg is brought forward. The optimal range of motion of each leg does not complement that of the other leg. The legs must scissor at some time after ground contact since the legs are not meeting at ground contact. The effectiveness of the backward foot speed and horizontal force at ground contact is decreased because of the time it takes to bring the other leg forward. All of this contributes to longer ground contact time and reduced horizontal force. Rather than all of the force coordinated to occur in the shortest amount of time, the efforts of each leg are separated and spread over a longer period of time.