Running is one of the ‘easiest’ forms of exercise – meaning all you need is a pair of running sneakers to get moving. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just getting into the sport it’s important to have good running form. There are many benefits of good running form including aiding in injury prevention, resisting fatigue, and allowing your body to work more efficiently therefore running faster by doing less.
Here are seven tips for good running form:
1. Good Posture: This is what keeps your body in alignment. Run ‘tall’ with good posture to keep you chest and airway open and abs engaged. Focus on an object 20-30 feet in front of you, avoid looking at the ground directly under foot. As you get fatigued, it’s easy to begin slouching. It’s important that several times throughout your run, you do a “systems check” and make sure your posture is tall.
2. Land mid-foot: Try to land mid-foot as opposed to on your toes or heals as this will waste energy and potentially cause an injury. Focus on landing mid-foot and then roll through to the front of your toes.
3. Cadence: Recommended cadence is 90+ foot strikes per foot per minute (180 total). Think quick feet and keep repeating that to yourself as you run. Counting your cadence during the run is great practice as it brings you back to concentrating to your form as opposed to any discomfort you might be feeling. The faster your cadence, the faster you’ll run.
4. Arms at 90-degree angle: Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle and moving front to back not side to side. A tip I received long ago from a running coach, is to let your thumbs sweep past your hip bones on every arm swing – as if you were going to try to reach into your pocket.
5. No bouncing: The goal during running is to minimize the amount of bouncing up and down as much as possible as this is wasted energy. Think about trying to kick a soccer ball while running; this will prevent you from picking your foot up too high off the ground.
6. Lean: Lean from the ankles without bending at your waist.
7. Relaxed body: Every part of your body should feel relaxed including your face. Your shoulders should remain low and loose as opposed to high and tight. Your hands should also be relaxed, not in a tight fist – pretend you were holding a bag of potato chips while running.
Smile while you’re running – it’s supposed to be fun! Remember, if you returning to running after child birth, running should be gradually added back to your fitness routine – start with a run/walk for 10-20 minutes. If you experience any pelvic discomfort while running, or urinary leakage (weak pelvic floor muscles) that’s your body telling you running is too much intensity. Work on rebuilding your core strength before taking on impact exercise such as running.
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