Anyone can be a better runner with better form. A simple message I say often to the attendees at my run clinics and also the RVP Coached Athletes. It is true, the older we get the harder it is to break habits. When we look at correcting form, often it can feel unnatural initially but with time and patience it will feel comfortable and you will notice benefits of a lessened recovery time, improved running efficiency and pace.
Let's break it down from head to toe what good running form looks like:
Some of us may only need subtle changes in correction to achieve the right running form while some of us need to work a little bit harder and have patience over time to work on this.
Here are some tips to help with correction in form. Start with the most obvious part of your running movement to correct.
1. You may be running and leaning too far forward, with your head looking down, a slight curve in your upper body and pelvis falling back. Your legs are shuffling along the ground. This type of running style is often seen when a runner is fatigued and slumping involuntarily thinking energy is being conserved.
What's actually happening is you are leaning forward, compressing your lungs restricting oxygen intake which is a source of fuel. Your hips have fallen back which results in power loss. You are actually working harder here to propel forward than what you think.
A simple correction is starting with your head...look up! Naturally, we will travel in the direction of where we look. By looking up, the rest of your body will follow by standing upright. Continue this approach by looking up, standing tall, chest out, hips forward and slight forward lean from the feet.
2. You may simply be running too upright, with your shoulders slightly hunched towards your ears and your pelvis over extending forward, resulting in a 'V' style angle from your shoulders to your pelvis to your feet. Often a runner is heel striking here which is a significant impact on the ankle, knee and hip joints. By landing on your heel, you are actually braking each time you strike the ground. The last thing we want to be doing!
A simple method to correct this is to pull your navel (belly button) in towards your spine. This will pull your pelvis back in line with the rest of your body. From there, start from the head and follow these simple cues.
- look up
- shoulder relaxed
- stand tall
- arms 90 degrees, swing front to back
- hips forward
- slight forward lean
- light forefoot/midfoot strike under body
If you feel you have hit a plateau with your running, are always getting injured or perhaps it's taking a long time to recover between runs, a simple correction in running form may be all that's needed.
Reach out anytime to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat about your running and race goals.