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Improve Your Running Form: Essential Techniques

Improving Your Running Form: Essential Techniques

In running, form refers to technique and is affected by many things including posture, alignment, and individual biomechanics.

In this blog we’re going to investigate three key questions:

  • Why is proper running form important?
  • How do I know if I have good form?
  • How can I improve my running form?

Why is proper running form important?

Reduces risk of injury:

Having proper running form puts less strain on the body which in turn reduces the risk of injury. Having good form is better for the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments and allows you to safely strengthen them rather than doing damage.

Improves comfort:

Running with poor form not only leads to injuries but it can also be uncomfortable. Running with proper form will feel easier and more comfortable, making it more enjoyable!

Improves running efficiency:

When you have proper running form your body is put under less unnecessary stress meaning you will notice reduced fatigue, improved stamina, and faster times.

How do I know if I have good form?

Film yourself:

The easiest way to check your own running form is to set up your phone or camera and record yourself running. When you watch the footage back you will be able to see where you might need to make some corrections.

Work with a trainer:

If you’ve tried the first method but you’re still not sure where you need to improve, working with a coach or trainer can be very useful. They will be able to watch you run and tell you where you need to adjust.

This can be especially helpful for beginners who maybe don’t know exactly what to look out for.

How can I improve my running form?

If you’re here, then you probably want to learn how to improve your running form.

As previously mentioned, running form is primarily down to three things:

  • Posture: The way you hold your body.
  • Alignment: How the feet, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and head line up.
  • Biomechanics: How your body moves, this is unique to you.

We’ve put together a list of things to pay attention to that will help you improve your form.

Head position:

Your head should be neutrally positioned, look straight ahead not up or down- this will give you a neck ache.

Make sure the head, neck and shoulders are aligned, poor alignment creates extra strain on the muscles and joints and makes breathing harder.

Shoulders:

Hunching the shoulders puts extra stress on the respiratory system which you don’t want during exercise. Keeping the shoulders down and back opens the chest, making it easier to breathe.

Arms/Hands:

Make sure to swing your arms back and forth rather than side to side. This will help to maintain balance and centre of gravity.

Keep the hands relaxed, and arms close to your sides.

Posture - Spine/back:

Keep the spine long and straight- this allows you to keep the core tight. Your core is the key to good posture and supports the spine as well as absorbing impact as your feet hit the ground. A tall spine also makes it easier to breathe.

Maintaining a slight lean forward whilst keeping the neck and shoulders inline and the back and core straight will create momentum to propel you forward.

Legs:

Bend the knees but don’t lift the feet too high off the ground, this only wastes energy. Keep the foot and knee in line with each other to better absorb impact shock and reduce injury risk.

Cadence:

Cadence is the number of steps taken per minute. Keeping cadence high by taking short fast steps can make you a more efficient runner and puts less stress on the joints.

Over striding is a common problem for runners and causes you to land heavily on the heal. Taking shorter strides will reduce this and in turn reduces the risk of developing shin splints or runner’s knee.

Takeaway:

Having proper form is essential for runners of all abilities and is the key to unlocking better performance and avoiding injury.

Following these tips and tricks will hopefully help you to run faster and more efficiently, and most importantly make running more enjoyable.

Related Article:

Tips to Prevent and Treat Runner’s Knee 

Effective Strategies to Prevent Running Injuries 

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