Are you a seasoned marathon-runner extraordinaire? Or maybe the pandemic forced you to ditch the treadmill and hit the pavements? Either way, if you want to elevate your running it’s crucial to take a look at your running form.
Top runners make it look effortless, but in actuality there is a lot that goes into running efficiently and safely. Every runner is different. As you run, the body naturally adapts to your own individual strengths and weaknesses.
The basics according to adidas.com…
- Lean slightly forward
- Look ahead
- Keep shoulder blades tight
- Bend elbows at 90 degrees
- Keep your midsection stable
- Lift and bend your knee
- Use your back leg
How to improve form:
- Avoid over-striding
The position of your strike to the floor has a huge role to play in your running. Whether you heel strike or forefoot strike, this ultimately determines how much impact you face in your run.
How do I know if I’m over-striding? Well, look for alignment of the knee and ankle upon initial contact. Ideally, you want the knee to be flexing directly above the ankle on initial contact. If you are over-striding you will see the ankle ahead of the knee.
Over-striding leads to various problems but largely its linked to poor posture. It can also significantly slow down your running. Try to increase your stride frequency (or ‘cadence’) and feel how it encourages you to over stride. You will feel lighter on the feet as your contact time with the floor decreases.
If you are struggling to maintain an increased running cadence then try a basic digital metronome which can help you get a good rhythm. This will help enormously with your running posture.
2. Think Tall Posture
Running posture is crucial to master the art of a good, healthy run. First and foremost, it’s important to rectify your day-to-day postural imbalance. If you spend all day at a desk, looking down at your phone or have a job which requires a hunched position then this can heavily impact your running.
Sitting down, specifically, leads to rounded shoulders and hips constantly being flexed. This positioning actually shortens and tightens the hip flexors and other muscles like the glutes.
This directly impacts your running. Suddenly, the body has to assume an erect posture and hip extension. This can lead to the body doing what it is posturally used to and running in a semi-flexed position. This is particularly taxing on your hips.
Try some hip-flexor mobility exercises before and after each run, during your office day and basically when you have a spare moment.
3. Setting the arm rhythm
When we think of running, we generally focus on the legs. Getting the right trainers, stretching out the quads and so forth. But, actually your arms and upper body have a part to play in running safely and efficiently.
Good running arm swing means keeping your arms active with relaxed fists and bent elbows. Pull your shoulder blades together and just let the arms relax. Try keeping your elbows tucked in pulling them backwards parallel to the body. The more relaxed the arms the better.
Just like any activity, running can take a toll on the body. It’s vital to incorporate rest into your running routine. Without rest and recuperation, you won’t see improvement and can potentially do more harm than good.
- Pre and Post-run stretching is vital. Gradually build up to your run; start with a walk, then a jog and then pick up the pace. Stretching for 5-10 minutes before a run is vital to resist injury. Similarly, ensuring you do a 10-15 minute post-run stretch allows the body to cool down and reset.
PostureKey is the perfect tool for any runner. Whatever level you are at with your running PostureKey is here to help. Through independent studies carried out by Paula Esson BSc, PostureKey was shown to improve stability (or sway) in 18 of the 20 participants. This leads to improved posture, and means the body requires less effort for movement. This shows that PostureKey could massively assist with not only your running recovery but your running performance and posture.
Running is a great way to keep active, get outdoors and be cost-effective in your exercise regime. Enjoy the great outdoors, improve your mental and physical health and get running!
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