Running is said to be one of the most addictive sports on the planet. The millions of runners around the planet affirm that notion. Astonishingly, the one thing that many runners often overlook is the importance of proper running form. Subsequently it can either make or break you as a runner.
What’s the fuss about proper running form?
Running form is nothing to be taken lightly. When you exhibit proper running form you develop a greater efficiency as a runner; it will help you run faster and you will learn to run in a lot more relaxed manner. These factors will contribute to increasing your running endurance either directly or indirectly.
Most importantly, correct running form will reduce your risk of acquiring injuries. Running injuries have the potential to shave off years of your running career. Efficient running technique will extend your running miles and will help you be the best runner that you can be.
How to practice proper running form
For those of you who did not initially realise the importance of good running technique, all is not lost, in fact you can make the necessary adjustments today by following these steps.
#1 Look forward
Never look at your feet when you are running. This is a dangerous habit that could actually cause you to stumble and fall – it also affects your posture. No matter how tired you may be, suck it up and constantly look forward. It is a much safer way to run and could spare you a great deal of pain.
#2 Maintain correct posture
Always keep your back straight with your head centered. Ensure that your head does not lean too forward to prevent a stiff neck and back. Relax your jaw and neck to eliminate unnecessary tension in the face. Keep your hands relaxed and never cup them. The arms must swing back and forth from the shoulder joints and not the elbow joints.
#3 Shoulders should sit low
Shoulder posture plays a vital role in keeping your upper body relaxed as you run. To ensure that you are giving off your best effort, keep your shoulders loose and low, rather than high and tight. Also keep them level and don’t let them dip as you take a stride.
#4 Lean Forward
Ensure that you do not lean from the waist but rather from the ankles. Your weight needs to be slightly forward and flex at the ankles, making use of gravity to generate forward momentum.
#5 Run with a forefoot strike
Too many injuries are acquired by heel striking. The impact that is caused by the heel hitting the ground affects the ankles and knees and can give you running injuries such as shin splints. Rather opt for a forefoot striking running style. Allow your feet to land softly and make a conscious effort to work on this if you are not used to running in this manner. Also choose a running shoe that promotes a forefoot strike – not unlike the superb all-new range of men’s inov-8 road running shoes we featured.
#6 Take note of your stride
Stay relaxed and allow the correct muscles to do the work. Allow your stride to be unforced and compact. Large strides can hinder your momentum.
Like with anything, proper form will always give you the best results. When you are able to grasp a good understanding about what form your limbs and body need to exhibit, your running ability shall increase tenfold.
Which of these running techniques were you not aware off? Is there a particular running technique that you would like to share that has helped you?