Surely it’s as simple as getting your runners on, and getting out the door, right?
The reality is that proper technique can make you a more efficient runner, help conserve more energy, reduce injury risk and will help improve your performance. That is, your run might even start to get easier.
When introducing changes to your technique it’s important that you start them gradually as your body needs time to adapt. A good recommendation is to introduce them on a shorter run, or towards the end of a run and gradually build up from there.
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What to change
Make sure you are standing upright, with a straight back and as you run a slight lean forward will help promote forward momentum. You should be looking forward approximately 30m.
Head, shoulders and arm swing
Ensure your head and shoulders are relaxed and not tensed up. Your hands should be loosely cupped but not tensed. Your elbows bent, with your arms swinging forward and backwards down by your hips, not held up high, which tends to be a common problem among women and also increases hip rotation which can lead to a number of injuries. You want the hips to remain square to also limit rotation and again increase forward motion.
Legs and stride
For middle and long distance running which we are looking at, we don’t want to be lifting the knee high as you do in sprinting. You want to be softening the knee as you move forward and as you increase your speed your foot will start to flick back higher towards your glutes. When you land you want your front foot to land as close to your body (your center of gravity) as possible, taking moderately short, frequent strides rather than over striding which is when you excessively extend the front foot out in front of your body. Over striding has been linked to many running injuries as it increases braking force and puts more pressure on the joints of the lower body in particular the knees.
The ideal foot strike to aim for is mid-foot where you land on the ball of your foot, rather than a heel strike which lands on the heel first or a forefoot strike which lands on the toe. By landing mid-foot you are softening the load, and allowing your foot to come down and land correctly and then push up off the toes. Try to stay light on your feet as you are running, rather than taking heavy, pounding steps.
Check out www.jorgfitness.com for more information on proper running technique and methods.
This article first appeared in The Juice Daily.