How to run properly is a question we have all considered at least once. Are you a regular runner, but keep wondering whether your running posture is adequate? Although there’s no such a thing as a perfect running technique, adopting an adequate running form can help you perform better and reduce the risk of injuries. Indeed, running properly can help you run faster and more efficiently, reducing fatigue and making your run more comfortable and, therefore, more enjoyable.
Below Blackrock A.C. offer 10 tips on how to improve your running technique. Whether you’re a beginner or a top athlete, follow these rules on how to run properly and you will run better and avoid many injuries.
1. Look Ahead
Looking 30 metres in front of you while running will help you maintain a proper posture. Don’t look at your toes or tilt your chin up and down. This would put strain on the muscles of your neck and shoulder. To keep the correct posture, your neck must be aligned with your spine, and your ears in line with your shoulders. In this way, your head will be in a neutral position, reducing the stress on your neck.
2. Straighten Your Back and Open Up Your Shoulders
Hunching your shoulders can cause neck stiffness and sore muscles. For that reason, your shoulders should be relaxed and level at all times. If you bend your shoulders forward, your chest will tighten, making your breathing more difficult. Make sure that you keep this posture and your shoulders are relaxed. If you find out that you’re shrugging, slightly press your shoulder blades to keep your back erect and your shoulders down.
3. Swing your Arms by Your Sides
Your hands should move back and forth from chin to hip. Crossing your arms over your chest will make you hunch over and slow down. It’s a waste of energy that will create unnecessary fatigue. Make sure that you swing your arms from your shoulder joint, and not from your elbow. The elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle since this will help your body to propel.
4. Relax Your Hands
When running, gently bend your hands, but don’t clench them in a tight fist. If you squeeze your hands, you’re wasting precious energy that you could invest in your running. Holding the hands out flat can also put a strain on your arms and shoulders.
5. Engage Your Core
When you’re running, the core acts as your centre of gravity. Core strength helps you stay balanced and stable. Furthermore, the core acts as a shock absorber, discharging extra pressure from your joints. Make sure that, while running, you keep your core tight, since this will help you stay upright and unload pressure from knees and hips.
6. Lean Your Torso from Hips
While running, everyone tends to slightly lean forward to help the body propel. Make sure that this minor movement comes from your hips and not from bending your shoulders. If your shoulders stick out, there’s a muscular imbalance that will hinder your run. By contrast, if you place your torso slightly ahead of your hips, you can get more power out of your glutes.
7. Keep Your Knee in Line with Your Foot
When you hit the ground, the middle of your foot should be right under your knee and your knee slightly bent. This position allows your different joints to absorb shocks better. In long distances, don’t lift the knees too high, because this will waste your energy.
8. Have Your Shin Perpendicular to the Ground
When landing, your shin should be at a 90-degree angle with the ground. In that way, you’ll be using your hip, your knee and your ankle at the same time. The three joints will then contribute to absorbing the shock and propel your body. If, on the contrary, you hit the ground too heavily on your heel or your forefoot, the angle will be too small. This position can lead to injuries in the feet and knees.
9. Land Lightly
Avoid exerting too much force when hitting the ground with your feet. Try to keep your footfall light and soft. It’s believed that this impact, when too intense, can lead to injuries such as muscle strains, stress fractures and tendinitis.
10. Don’t Bounce
Moving your head and body up and down too much has a negative impact on your running. It wastes energy unnecessarily and puts more strain on your joints. The higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater the shock you need to absorb when landing. This impact can have negative consequences on your knees and lead to injuries. For that reason, it’s better if you propel forward rather than upwards when running.
An adequate running form isn’t something that you will develop overnight. It requires attention and dedication. Try to revisit these rules on how to run properly from time to time to avoid improper postures and bad habits. If you manage to adopt a proper running form, your performance will improve and you will prevent many possible injuries.
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Written by Daniel Mourenza