Whether you are new to running or you’re a veteran fitness fanatic, you have probably heard that your form is one of the most important aspects of any exercise. This too applies to running.Good running shoes and proper form are vital to ensure that you are comfortable on your run, and that you avoid injury during your run. But what exactly is good running form, and more importantly, what can you do to improve your running form?
While every runner is different and naturally every runner will have a slightly different form, there are some things that help your form across the board.
If you look at the word posture and hear your grandmother’s voice telling you not to slouch, you should listen, because we are going to tell you the same thing. In order to improve your running form, it is vital that your posture is correct.
Slouching while you run can not only cause injuries such as lower back pain, but it also limits your ability to take in oxygen effectively.
One technique to improve your posture while running you can imagine a string attached to the crown of your head pulling your body upwards. A tip we are sure you probably also heard from your grandmother. Ultimately you should look forward, and keep your shoulders relaxed and your core engaged.
It is natural while running to lean a little forward, however, it is equally important to ensure (especially towards the end of your run) that you are not slouching.
Best Foot Forward
Your feet and gait play a pivotal role in your running form. How your foot hits the ground is important in whether your form is correct. Paying attention to how your foot hits the ground can also help you ensure you have theright running shoes to help your form. When walking it is natural for your foot to strike the ground heel first. When you are running this is not ideal and can lead to injury. If you are striking the ground with your heel first, it generally means you are overstriding and ultimately acts as a ‘braking mechanism’ slowing your running speed down.
Ultimately the correct form when running is for your knees to be bent and your mid-foot to hit the ground. This acts similarly to a spring. You should use your back leg to propel you forward.
A great way to practice correct running form is by doing forward lunges. Lunges mimic the motion and the alignment of your foot with your hip which can help your running form.
Relax Your Arms & Shoulders
Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed during a run. While it is essential to maintain a good posture, over-tensing your shoulders (similar to a shrug) can also be uncomfortable.
While the typical cartoon may over-exaggerate arm movements when running, it is actually not beneficial. Keeping your arms relaxed at your sides is important in preventing side stitches, and helping your posture too. Ultimately your arms will naturally swing a bit at your sides, however, they should never cross your body.
If you find your shoulders are tense and shrugged up, you should take a moment and shake them out. This simple act can help you improve your breathing and your posture.
When to see a Physical Therapist?
While each runner will have a unique style and form, it is important that you as a runner are not causing yourself injury. If you have noticed that you are suffering from joint pain, muscle pain in your back and shoulders or any other discomfort while running it is important to consult a professional.
To help you avoid injury, find the best pair of shoes for you atThe Athlete’s Foot online store!