FIT TIP: Your Running Form

A man running through a park

The fundamental factor to an efficient and fast run is having a good technique. If your running techniques are not correct then you are not living to your fullest fitness potential.

Though running is among the most common activities, the truth is, about 80% of people suffer from poor running techniques.

But we are here to help you change that. How you run can be a hard one to change, especially if you have already set the bad habits, but with your strong determination and patience, you can still modify those wrong practices and head your way to the perfect running form!

With these helpful tips, you can acquire flawless techniques in no time!

→Work on your posture

Being knowledgeable on how vital a good posture is for everyday life, it is also a fundamental aspect to know how effective your running technique is. Having a bad posture means that your body requires more energy to keep you upright, and the energy wasted should have been used for running faster and further.

According to a study from San Francisco State University, bad posture limits circulation and aggravates your mood. When standing up, it should be that your spine is straight and your shoulders squared. If it is not, then flexibility exercises such as yoga can help in improving posture.

→Keep your head straight

Did you know that a person’s head weighs around 7-10 lbs. or 3-4.5 kg?

That is a huge weight to support when you run, so considering the position of your head when you run is vital. Try to maintain your head in a neutral and straight position, prevent it from pulling back or falling forwards. Some runners have the tendency to permit their head to lean forward as if they are sitting in front of a computer, so be extra careful of this position of your head, and avoid yourself from doing this. The quickest way to avoid improper head positioning is have your eyes focus on the horizon; keep your vision on a straight level.

→Relax your face

Can you imagine that grim look of determination on your face when you are running fast? Whenever your face is feeling tense, especially your jaw, neural signals are being sent into your spine; this can result the whole body to tense up too. Try to watch some video clips of the world record sprinters, check their faces in slow motion. Even with a massive burst of power all over their body, you can see that their faces are totally relaxed. Copy this technique by maintaining a relaxed face during your run, most especially your eyes and jaws.

→Avoid heel striking

The most efficient way in running is to land on your forefoot, which lowers the risk of injury and aids you in achieving faster times. But most of the runners are heel strikers.

According to a study from the Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, about 94% of marathon runners utilize this technique.

Give yourself an advantage over other runners by avoiding heel striking. Sad to say that if you are a heel striker, changing your running technique isn’t that easy since sudden change may result to injury. Hence, gradually introduce forefoot striking when you run until it starts to feel natural.

→Perfect your stride

Attaining the best running pace is up on your running stride. Keep your strides short along with slight knee lifts to ensure that you are running proficiently over long distances. If you can get this technique correctly when running, your feet will land just below your body, with a minor bend on your knee to absorb the impact. This is going to allow you to efficiently push off and move yourself forward with every stride. Whatever it is you do, avoid over-striding. This means that your feet are landing on your body. Over-striding may result to injuries in both the hamstrings and the knees.

→Use your arms

Since your legs are the ones that carry you during running, your arms acts as the pistons that pushes you forward. Begin by concentrating on your elbows. They must be bent at 90 degrees and should stay like this during running instead of flopping around when you get tired. This is the best form in allowing your arms to swing backwards and forwards easily, and also making sure your body can use energy elsewhere. When you are swinging your arms, make sure to keep them at your side instead of crossing over your body, and let them stay between chest and waist level.

→Keep your hands relaxed

Balling up your hands and forming it into fists is just a waste of energy, and can’t help you run any faster. In fact, if there is tension in your hands then this can also create tension to the whole body, so avoid it as much as possible. But, you do not have to let your hand be so relaxed that they are just hanging at the end of your arms. To get that ideal shape of your hands, the quickest way is to use the “egg trick”. To do this, just imagine holding an egg in every hand and not breaking it.  You need to make sure you hold the eggs loose enough as not to break them and just tight enough as not to drop them.

→Breathe efficiently

Running techniques is not all about proper body positioning, but is also about your breathing.

Knowing how to properly breathe while running is going to make a big difference to your endurance and speed according to Mindy Solkin, a running expert, breathing properly can result to more oxygen for the muscles.

The best technique for runners is to breathe through the abdomen. Lie flat on your back with one hand placed in the chest and the other hand in the stomach. Breathe and make sure that the hand in the stomach is rising and falling instead of the hand that is on the chest. This simply means that you’re breathing through the abdomen instead of the chest, which is more effective.

→Perform body scans when you run

Learning all of the running techniques mentioned above is just a waste of time if you can’t remember to stick to it half-way through your sessions. That is why it’s important to do regular body scans. A body scan is a mid-run mental check to make sure that all your technique forms are right. If they are not, then you have to fix them. Begin by checking from the top of your body and making sure the correct positioning of the head, and then go down to your chest, arms, hands, legs and heels, before finally checking your face and that you are breathing properly. Scanning regularly while running can keep your technique correct and aid you in performing your best.