Ways To Improve Your Running Form

 

Improve Your Running Form

Improve Your Running Form

People that competed in track and field during their school years were fortunate to have a running coach early in their career, evaluating them and offering tips on ways to become an efficient runner. Those who did not have this competitive advantage more than likely did not receive any running form tips from a professional.

Actually, the main reasons why so many people take up running is because it is a sport that can be virtually done anywhere, without training and with little equipment. All you have to do is put out some cash on a sporty pair of running shoes in your color of choice and instantly, you’re a runner, or are you?

According to Randy Accetta, a running coach at the Craftsbury Running Camp, who teaches runners of all ages, this is not quite the case. He says that “Good runners should practice good form.”

How can you possibly know what your individual running form is like? At the Craftsbury summer running camp (for adults) the instructors video tape the camp participants while they run back and forth at a conversational pace the length of a tennis court. As well as they do a sprint the width of the tennis court.

You can tape your form by having a friend film a quick video of you running a similar path to the above-mentioned one. This way, you can see yourself as you run in a sprint as well as from the front and the back. This gives you a view of your regular running form along with a slightly magnified version.

Some runners at Craftsbury who have never watched themselves running before are often surprised and sometimes terrified by seeing their running form. Generally, the most common errors witnessed in the video are arms dangling to loose at the sides or too far up across the chest, droopy shoulders, and running with both thumbs in the air (like “The Fonz”) or knock-kneed.

A lot of people assume that a good running form starts with their foot work, but it is actually the opposite. According to Accetta, a proper running form goes from the head to the toe. When you run you do so in a straight line as your energy is focused in front of you, and your arms are out in front as a guide.

Accetta advises that in order to make the most efficient use of your energy you must take note that your form affects both your conserved and expended energy. He suggests the following running guidelines to keep a proper form:

Your Head: Keep it down towards your chest, slightly around three to five degrees from the trunk of your body. Center your eyes at the ground 10 to 20 feet ahead of you, and focus on running perfectly straight. Keep your neck and jaw relaxed.

Trunk: Lean forward a bit by bending from the waist, but not too much that you lose your balance. Leaning backwards, creates stretching from the hip area and is not efficient. Maintain an open upper body so you can breathe easily.

Hip Area: You hips, head and shoulders should be aligned. With your feet striking the ground directly below your hips, which is your gravity center.

Shoulders: Keep your shoulder’s square and relaxed, don’t hunch because this leads to restrictions to your breathing, which will decrease the oxygen supply to your muscles.

Arms: Keep your arms low and relaxed at 90-degrees. When you are running, move your arms up and down. On the upswing, bring your arms to your sternum then on the down-swing brush past your waist, and swing behind your back. Only move your arms, and minimize the rotations to your trunk. Move them concurrently with your leg movements. Always keep in mind that the faster you move your arms, the quicker your feet will move, so use them to move you forward.

Hands: Your hands should be cupped with your thumb slightly touching the top of your index finger, as if you’re holding a little egg that you don’t want to crack. If you clench your fist tightly or have your thumbs pointing up you may cause pressure to your arms, that will carry through to your neck, shoulders or lower back, making you uncomfortable and giving you an unproductive stride. Don’t cross your hands over the center of your chest. Pretend there is a line that separates your body vertically in half and your hands should never cross that line.

Breaking a habit is hard, you run in a form that your body finds is efficient, so now you’re used to it. To change this habit, concentrate on your new style a couple of minutes at a time.

Accetta says that in order to change your form you have to consciously think about it for brief moments during your regular running time.

By adjusting your running form you will see a big difference in how efficiently you run and how you feel.

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