Run College “Optimize Your Stride” Course Introduction

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Run College “Optimize Your Stride” course, available exclusively to Outside+ members. You can read more about the course and its offerings here. Already a member? Register for the course here.



We’re so glad you’re here. Whether you’ve just started running or you’re a seasoned veteran, we all can use some help dialing in our optimal stride.

Why does it matter? Because when your balance and your biomechanics are on point, you’ll be able to run farther, faster, and with less effort and wear and tear on your body. And who doesn’t want more smiles with their miles?!

Everything you do when you’re not running also impacts how you perform on the road or track. Spend a lot of time sitting in front of your computer? Yep, it’s going to change how you run. Same thing goes for lots of driving, hunching over your phone, not moving enough.

Don’t stress! We’ve got you covered. Jay Dicharry literally wrote the book on rewiring your running for maximum benefits. With his background in physical therapy and thousands of hours helping other runners, we knew he was the perfect coach for this course. His expertise, combined with your commitment will get you the results you’re looking for.

Let’s get you officially introduced!

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Meet Jay

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Be Safe

And now a word from our legal team:

Please consult a doctor before beginning any form of exercise, including this program. If something does not feel right in your body, or you experience any pain while performing the exercises in this course, stop immediately and consult your doctor. We can’t guarantee that this program is safe for every individual. Any liabilities associated with the use of this course and its exercises and workouts are expressly disclaimed.

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Course Setup

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what can you expect from this program? We wanted to give you a little insight into how this course is structured so you can decide how best to fit these workouts into your training schedule.

Here’s how we’ve laid out the three major sections of this course:

Run Cues: Strategies for Ongoing Awareness of Your Position and Movements

You’ll learn key strategies all runners can use to improve. Optimal running should be efficient and elastic, and as low stress as possible. You’ll learn eight cues for proper positioning, discovering where you need to develop postural endurance on the run, and beginning to develop effective habits.

Level 1: Balance your Imbalance Exercises (4-6 weeks to improve neuromuscular control) 

Level 1 work is designed to help you find and feel specific muscles–the ones that help you stabilize and steer your body as you run. In Level 1 your muscles may not get a workout, but your brain will. As you master the exercises, you’ll feel differences in your movement. You are building a critical foundation for a more durable and efficient stride.

Level 2: Performance workouts

Once you get a feel for the proper way to load your body joint by joint, we’ll introduce you to 4 performance workouts that will integrate skill and load your body for more resilience. You’ll progress from level one and you’ll start to feel strength changes in 6-8 weeks. Once you’ve completed this section all the way through, you can continue to keep it in your training rotation for the long haul–building and strengthening as you go. This will ensure you stay primed to always run at your peak.

We’ve also included a calming mobility routine to keep you moving smoothly on recovery days or whenever you want to give your body some extra love.

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What You’ll Need

We’ve designed this course with minimal gear needs–you probably already have all or most of this. Jay also shares ideas for modifications with everyday household items later in the workouts.

  • Comfortable workout clothes and running shoes
  • Resistance bands
  • Wooden dowel or PVC pipe
  • Foam roller
  • Swiss ball
  • Medicine ball
  • Bench or chair
  • Dowel or ski pole
  • Balance board
  • One gallon water jug
  • Kettlebell