Are you pushing hard but still wondering why you’re not getting faster or pushing further in your runs? The truth is you might not be nailing your running form. For the pros precision is absolutely key when it comes to racing, whether it’s a speedy 10k or a slow, grinding ultra marathon. If you’re looking to get a PB in the coming months or you just want to avoid injury, then getting your form right is unavoidable. The intricacies of running biomechanics have long been debated but if you’re looking to understand how to run properly in four simple steps, then this is where to begin.
4 Ways to Nail Your Running Form
One of the most important reasons why we want to achieve the best running form possible is to improve our efficiency. If your running form is poor you’re going to be wasting energy and a fatigued body is one that misses PBs and gets injured easily. Keep your back straight but your shoulders relaxed and lean slightly forward. Research has found that leaning forward will reduce stride length, increase cadence and reduce injury.
If you want to conserve energy then you can’t allow your arms to flail. Instead, keep them straight and bent at a 90 degree angle. Drive back, moving only at the shoulder and allow your fingers to graze your hip. Finally, and this really is key, aim to keep any rotation in the top half of your body to an absolute minimum. Any movement or momentum needs to be driving you forward and twisting at the hip, waist or shoulders is going waste energy.
Foot strike style can vary from runner to runner, and there’s no problem with that. The three styles are heel, mid-foot and front-foot strike and most people will have a natural preference. There’s been plenty of discussion over the years about which foot strike is the most efficient and therefore the best, but many believe that your natural foot-strike will always be the most efficient for you as a runner. So if you can’t change your strike, what should you focus on? Make sure that your foot falls right under your centre of mass. Over-striding is a common running mistake that wastes energy and increases your risk of injury.
As the heaviest part of your body your head can easily throw off your posture and dictate your run. When you’re tired it can be easy to let your head drop. But holding it high and keeping you chin level with the ground will help you to keep your chest open and breathe more easily. A dropped head will cause a curved back and shoulders, not what you want when you’re working on the perfect posture. Keep your eyes on the horizon – look up too high and you’ll put unnecessary strain on your lower back.
Now you know how to run properly you’ll be well on your way to your next finish line moment. If you want to make your training even more efficient check out our tips for how to recover faster between runs.