We’d Bet About 95% Of You Who Read This Have A Terrible Running Form!
For some of us, just dragging our butts to the treadmill or outside to go on a jog seems like a marathon in itself, so once we’re there it seems like the battle is won. There is a lot of truth in this, because certainly in many cases running at all is better than sitting home on the couch. The thing is once you get out there, it is imperative to start working on your running form, because this will help increase your speed, prevent falling and add on to the years you can run.
Like any adjustment of habit, learning to run in a way that feels “unnatural” takes a good deal of physical and mental effort. With enough patience and perseverance one day your form will improve. In this post we’re going to break down some aspects of forms that are good to focus on. So let’s get started before it is time for you to run off.
7 Points Of Focus For Your Form
- Where’s Your Head At?
Overall you want your head to stay aligned with your spine without having it bobbing in odd directions. Generally, you want to keep your gaze straight ahead with your head held at a level (as if you are carrying a book on top of your head).
- Keeping The Good Old Gut In Check
Just like with any physical activity, the core muscles are key to good running form. In order to keep up good posture in your form, you’ll need to keep your abs engaged. You can do this by tucking your tail bowl and squeezing your abdomen in towards the spine.
- Look Before You Leap
The way you land on your feet hugely changes the way running impacts your joints. You want your feet to land under the center of your body mass. This means if you drew a line roughly from your foot through your leg and torso to the top of your head it’d make a relatively straight line.
- Swinging The Arms
Often people swing their arms without thinking too much about what they’re doing. First off, you want to make sure make a firm fist with your hands. Next you want to keep them fairly straight with a bent elbow. Every time you alternate a hand down you want the wrist to go down to the hip. When it goes back up, it should come back up to chest level.
- Lift Up Your Feet
A lot of people shuffle when they first run, because it feels a lot easier. Picking up your feet will help you cover a lot more ground without too much extra effort. First off, try driving your knees forward more with running, but be mindful not to over stride by having your front foot land in front of you. Secondly, try to pick up your feet enough, so that they’re at calf level.
- Stand Tall
Overall you want to run with really good posture. A lot of the elements of form we already introduced will help you achieve that goal. Being mindful to really try to stand up straight as you run is also helpful when working towards better form.
- Keep Your Head In The Game
It is easy to let the mind wonder off when running, and this can be sometimes a fun route to take. However if you are working on form, speed and relaxing during a run, it is a good idea to try to treat it as a meditation. This means whenever a thought comes up in your head, try to subdue the thought and return to the present.
When In Doubt…
Have a friend or coach take a look at your form. Even if they do not know how to exactly tell you how to adjust the running they can verbally describe to your run. Also, with a smart phone they can easily record your stride, so that you can actually see what you like when you run. Sometimes it is a lot easier to work on form once you see what exactly it is you are doing wrong in the first place.
Runner’s World. Run Like Meb. May 2015.