It is important to focus on our running technique to make our runs are as smooth and efficient as possible. Often, we don’t realize that our running form is not accurate as it should be to increase our performance, even our endurance by saving some muscle soreness, fatigue or injuries due to the imbalanced running form. Focusing on all the different parts of our body to fix our running form and technique will make it much easier and provide a great difference in how you feel.
Running Technique Tips- Body Parts
Do not run with your eyes looking down at your feet. Your eyes should focus 10-15 meters in front of you to achieve a good running technique. On the technical trail, you should focus on shorter distances but without bending your head completely down.
Try to keep your face relaxed. Do not clench your jaw, when the jaw is clenched, neural signals are sent to the spinal cord, causing the whole body to tense up.
The average head weights about 3-4.5kg, so it is important to support it properly to avoid undue strain. Make sure you don’t drop your head forward, sideways or don’t pull it back. It is also important not to extend your head forward on your neck (like we do when we are on our computer).
Our shoulders should be relaxed when we run. To help the relaxation, avoid clenching the fists. Also, doing some upper body strength workouts, and stretches can help reduce the shoulder tightness during the runs. If you feel any shoulder or neck tightness while you run, perform a few arm circles backwards on both sides to feel the release of the tightness.
Our arms act as pistons to help propel forward when you are working on your running technique. Elbows should be bent, close to 90 degrees. Drive the arms forward, and they will naturally come back on their own. Moving your arms faster makes your legs move faster, so you use more arm power when you’re putting more effort. You can see that strong runners have lean, strong arm muscles, from using the arms to power up.
Hands should not be clenched, but they should not be left dangling too loose. The best recommendation is to imagine you are holding a tiny paper piece between each thumb and forefinger, to keep your hands in proper form but not too tight.
Your torso should be perpendicular to the ground, keeping your back straight and pulling in your abdominals to straighten your spine. Do not arch your back or lean forward, which will affect your alignment and restrict your breathing.
When running, you need to engage your full core to help avoid your pelvis to be off stance. Without engaging our core, to support our running form other muscles will have to take over which can cause some injuries. Make sure that your hips are not weak, if you feel one side of your hip drop on the foot impact, that means your glutes are weak and not engaged. While running, your hips should be balanced.
Aim to include some reasonable knee lift with each stride, not too high, this will provide a better running technique. When lifting your knees, use your core and abdominals for the lift, not only the hip flexors, otherwise they will get very tight.
Don’t put all the pressure on the front of the ankle, especially on the hills. Most runners have a tendency to run with rigid ankles, which doesn’t help with shock dissipation and smooth stride. Keeping our ankles very tight can also affect our shins and Achilles. We have to make sure our ankles are strong and flexible.
Land midfoot and roll smoothly through the forefoot, don’t push off the toes too hard, try to relax your toes in the range of motion. Make sure you don’t constantly heel strike.
To fix your running technique, try to keep it in mind when running. A good recommendation, is to perform a body scan every ten minutes, so that you keep your proper running form. Especially once our body starts to feel tired, we need to assess our running form regularly to avoid more fatigue or injuries.
Body Scanning Reminder:
- Can you feel tightness in your jaw or shoulders?
- Are you clenching your hands, or keeping your ankles rigid?
- Are your spine and back aligned?
- Are your hips balanced?
- Are you landing on your feet properly?
Relax your body regularly, breathe properly and enjoy and nice run with a great running form!
Train Well, Eat Well, Feel Great!