When you go for a run, often times you are thinking about where you are going to run, how fast you want to run, do you have everything, or what songs you want to play. But, what most runners neglect is their running form.
Running is an easy way to get in shape and your form play a critical role. Runners who don’t practice the correct running technique are more likely to injure themselves and you don’t need plantar fasciitis or a shin splint that will set you back.
Also, poor form waste valuable energy and dramatically affect your performance. Start implementing these easy tips into your training and you should see significant improvement after a while.
How you hold your head is key to good posture, which dictates how proficiently you run. Look in the direction where you want to run. Naturally, look forward, not down at your feet. This will bring your neck and back into alignment and keep them straight.
Relax those shoulders
You can waste a lot of energy holding your shoulders up. Relaxed shoulders is the most important part while you run, which is basic to maintaining an efficient running posture.
As you tire, don’t let your shoulders slump forward. Occasionally, shake them out to keep them from becoming tight. Your shoulders need to stay level and shouldn’t dip with each stride.
Let the arm swing
Even though running is primarily a lower-body exercise, your arms need to swing in a natural motion. Your arms should generally swing forward and back, not across your body, in the middle of waist and lower-chest area with the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
Your leg stride works in conjunction with your arm swing to drive you forward. Tight, clenched fist takes away energy that can be used elsewhere. Keep them relaxed like you are holding an uncooked egg.
Keep the torso relaxed
A relaxed upper body while running will take pressure off joints. With a slight lean, head up, and your shoulders in the right position, your abs and back naturally straighten to allow optimal lung capacity and stride length.
Experienced runners describe this position as ‘running tall’ which means you have to extend yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight. If you start to slump during the workout take a full breath and feel yourself straighten up.
Your hips are your center of gravity, so they’re key to great running posture. With your torso upright, your hips naturally fall into alignment, allowing your hips flexors and abductors to function in their best possible position.
If you permit your torso to slouch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward, which can put weight on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment.
Use fast leg turnover
While sprinters need to lift their knees high to attain maximum leg power, long distance runners don’t need as much exaggerated knee lift, it simply too hard to maintain for any length of time. Rather, endurance running requires a slight knee lift, a frequent leg turnover, and a reduce stride.
During running, exaggerating knee drive will significantly strengthen stride and endurance. Together, these will encourage fluid motion instead of wasting energy. When running with the correct stride length, your feet should land directly underneath your body.
As your foot strikes the ground, your knee need to be somewhat flexed so it can absorb much of the impact. If you’re lower leg stretches out in front of your body, your stride is too long. Your foot need to land directly underneath your hip.
Power in the feet
Research doesn’t conclusively show whether a specific type of runner’s foot strike can improve your running efficiency. Instead, concentrate your cadence, how often your feet strike the ground. Improving your cadence is one of the best methods to increase your performance. A fast turnover will always beat a longer stride.
To run well, you have to push off the ground with maximum power. With each step, your foot strike should create power to spring off the ground. Keep your lower leg flexed as your foot rolls forward to give full spring. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward with every step.
While good running form won’t happen overnight, incorporating these basic running tips into your routine just once or twice a week will help train your mind and body. As your running technique improve, muscle memory will adjust and running will feel more natural.