Your running form can instantly give way to whether you’re a casual jogger or a fast runner. If you’re one of those who is prone to injury, or has a noticeable idiosyncrasy to your form, you may suffer from a variety of form-related issues. Injuries like tendonitis, stress fractures, muscle cramps, and many others are often a direct result of bad form. If you’ve tried everything to eliminate injury, improve performance, or improve comfort during runs, and haven’t seen any improvement, you may want to check out these 5 form fixes that will make a huge difference in your performance.
Land on Your Forefront
Heal-striking is the most common form flaw affecting runners today. This is because cushioned running shoes can make it more comfortable to land on your heal. Heal-striking can cause a myriad of issues including shin splints, stress fractures in your foot, and tendinitis in your knees – so if you suffer from any of these injuries, you may be heal striking. Proper running form involves landing on your forefront and pushing off of your big toe; also, make sure your knees are pointing outward as you stride.
Relax Your Arms
Your arms should be lowered and near your waist during the majority of your run, only coming up if you have to sprint. Don’t clinch your hands or hold your arms close to your chest. Your hands should be relaxed, and all tension should be relieved in order to free up energy. Don’t let your arms reach your chest or sway to the sides too much. Don’t Lean In Too Much
180 Strides per Minute
Though there is still some debate, 180 strides per minute has become the agreed on optimum for stride rate. To keep track of this, you can periodically check your stride rate and make sure you’re count is around 180, making any adjustments you need along the way.
Shorten Your Stride
A good way to eliminate heal-striking is to shorten your stride. Many runners make the mistake of thinking that a longer stride means running faster, but this is not the case and leads to injuries and inefficient running economy. Proper running technique involves coming off the ground with an explosive force from your big toe. Focus on moving forward with your knees coming slightly off of the ground.
To do this, pretend that you have a string attached to the top of your head. The string is slightly pulling your head up so your shoulders don’t slouch and your eyes are facing forward. Make sure that you don’t look up or down when you run. Face forward looking about 10 feet in front of you. When runners get tired, they often slouch their shoulders and tilt their head back or too far forward, making it difficult to breathe and move forward efficiently.
Correct running form is essential to staying injury free, running faster, and looking good on race day. Next time you go on a run, pay close attention to your form. More than likely you are doing something on this list wrong.