You sure can run, but did you know that an improper form of running could cause damage, rather than benefit your body? Choosing to run is an excellent decision, doing it right is all the more important! Running is one of the easiest exercises and a great way to improve your overall health. But in your enthusiasm to get fit, make sure you don’t end up with any injuries! When you are taking the effort to run, it is also essential to be aware of the correct running technique.
Be Aware of The Correct Running Technique
Let’s find out the best way to run and reap the benefits without unknowingly causing ourselves any harm.
Prep up Your Body
When we run, we put the pressure on our entire body weight on the muscles and joints in our legs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes. Hence, the less weight the body carries, the lower are the chances of injury to the muscles and joints.
So, you got to get your body fitter and weigh less by adding more physical activity in your daily routine. The feet movement has to be very light to acquire the correct running technique. Walk whenever you get a chance, use the stairs and begin by doing low-impact activities regularly like walking, cycling, and swimming, to prep up your body for running.
If you don’t have time to warm up, you’d better not run either! This signifies how important warming up is before a run. Warm-up exercises before running significantly reduce muscle cramps and fatigue. Build up the speed by starting off with jogging or power walking. You can also do some leg lifts or crouches.
Make use of a trampoline if you have one, to activate your leg and stomach muscles. This will help in acquiring the correct running technique.
Know Your Posture
This is the most vital aspect of correct running technique. Know your posture and understand how the feet are landing. Most of us hardly know how we run! Do we place our heels or our toes first, on the ground? When we place our heels on the ground first, the impact sends shock waves through the ankle, knee, hips and lower back, which can cause injury. The right way is to take shorter strides, land in the middle of your foot and lightly bounce off without the heel touching the ground.
Know Your Feet and Pronation to optimize your running.
The way you hold your head is key to the correct posture. Always look in front and not at your feet. This will automatically straighten and align your neck and back. Some people also feel that if they lean forward it gives them a better posture. However, looking ahead is still essential.
Move Your Arms
Arm movement is important for stabilization. Your hands mainly control the tension in your upper body, while the arm swing lets you move forward in conjunction with your leg stride. The arms should swing forward and back. Keep the elbows at a 90-degree angle, as this will in return help you establish the correct running technique. The shoulders should not be held tight and the hands should be relaxed but stable.
Cool Down is a Must
While warming up is essential before a run, cooling down is required to get your heart rate back to its normal state and relax the muscles. This reduces the soreness and helps you prepare for the next run. Do a few stretches, slow jogging or gentle walking to cool down.
Know all about Running Cadence and Stride: Improve Your Form and Focus
Proper Running Gait
The efficiency of your running technique is directly proportional to the correct running technique. Good posture involves having a straight spine with neither too much straightness nor too much bend. The more you bend down, the more your body's muscles need to work to hold you upright and straight. Poor posture not only restricts the circulation of blood to your muscles and organs but also lowers down the oxygen supply to your brain.
A correct body posture makes running more efficient. Proper running gait includes keeping the upper body straight and your abdomen and butt tight. Your eyes should look straight ahead. Your arms give you power and rhythm during the run, so make sure that they swing close to your body at an angle of almost 90 degrees. To maintain a proper running form throughout the run, keep in mind to double check your posture.
Proper Running Gait While Running Uphill and Downhill
If you happen to stay closer to the hills, you can try running uphill. This is an excellent way of improving your technique as you take shorter strides and land on the forefoot. However, be careful while running downhill. The correct landing is vital to avoid stress on your shins or knees.
While running uphill, you must keep your head and chest up and look straight ahead. One important point is to visualize the road rising to meet you; it makes you stay focused. To maintain your balance, keep your shoulders back. Remember to push up and off the hill, springing from your toes to avoid injury. Do not bend at the waist and hunch over as it will increase the chance of injury and will also slow down your pace. Keep in mind to keep your hands and fists loose for proper movement of hands in order to get more power to move uphill easily.
While going downhill keep your torso straight upright and look straight ahead. One important point is to visualize the controlled falling, to stay focused. Keep your nose over your toes to maintain your balance and good posture and to reduce effort.
To avoid injury, step softly and don’t let your feet slap the pavement. Wear shoes with a proper fit to keep your running steady and comfortable.
Common Running Form Mistakes
The most common running mistakes include slow cadence, heel striking, lack of mobility, unrelaxed upper body, and not running fast. Your running speed is the stride length multiplied by the stride frequency. Attempting to increase the stride length reduces the stride frequency. The standard foot strikes per minute are 180. Take a few minutes to count the number of times your feet hit the ground; if it is less than 180, then increase it gradually.
To make your running efficient, increase your running cadence. Heel striking goes hand in hand with a slow cadence. It happens when the hips are behind your feet. Basically, you cannot push off your foot when it is in front of your hips; you have to come over your feet in order to push yourself forward. Lack of range of motion anywhere in the lower part of your body can make you more vulnerable to injury. While running, it is important to keep your upper body relaxed.
A running drill like the ABC drills are exercises that focus on specific movements to improve your correct running technique and coordination. Drills include butt kickers, straight-leg runs, and high-knee drills. In butt kickers, you have to stand straight and start with easy running. Bring one heel towards your glutes and then switch to the opposite side.
Next is the straight-leg run, which improves your running coordination and promotes your mid-foot strike. For this keep your legs and upper body straight, point your toes upward, and make sure to land on your forefoot.
The last is the high-knee drills; for this, you have to lift your knees to a 90-degree angle. Keep your focus on high knees and running tall and light; also lean forward slightly.
Increase your daily run bit by bit. Don’t push yourself too hard by running for longer durations at the beginning itself. One of the most common 12 Running Mistakes You Should Not Make is subjecting your body to sudden and excessive physical exertion increasing the possibility of injury. Your muscles need time to build up to sustain longer schedules.
Also, if you have to get fit, you definitely got to eat right. Cut the junk food and focus on including healthy food in your diet.
Drinking lots of water is a given. Run your way to good health and follow the above tips to get the best results. Watch all your worries run away too, as you embark on your route to happiness.
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