It isn’t just our legs that do the work
Indeed, your posture, arm swing and head and shoulder positions are areas you should be thinking about when running.
This is known as running form. The more in tune you are with other muscle groups and parts of your body while running, the greater your overall efficiency (speed, motion and consistency) will become.
We all have different running styles and ways of working – which is what makes running so interesting – as a one size fits all doesn’t typically apply.
Having so-called ‘correct technique’ isn’t everything but can also go a long way to reducing the risk of injury.
As such, here are a few tips you can take onboard to help you develop a more fluent running style, should you need to.
1) Look forward
Try and gaze 8-10 yards in front of you at all times when you run, so you can see what’s coming. Obviously, conditions such as trail running may change that, but generally, fix your eyes on what’s ahead and naturally you will stay more upright as a result.
Following on, look to keep your head straight, as well as your back. By doing this, your shoulders shouldn’t slump neither should your upper body.
The key is to feel relaxed and on your next run, try and notice your style and pay attention to those small little details.
3) Arm swing
Your arms are a powerful tool, with a smooth and natural motion helping you to build speed and create balance. Don’t force the issue but drive your elbows back and forth, alternating left-right-left-right with each running forward stride.
The important thing is to attempt to keep your arms and hands (at waist level) relatively relaxed – avoiding swinging and your arms coming across your body too much.
There is evidence to suggest arm crossing over your chest frequently can bring on a stitch but most runners end up doing it and it isn’t a bad thing. In truth, it showcases the effort you are putting in. Paula Radcliffe had a similar motion and she didn’t do too bad, did she?
4) Feet forward
It seems pretty obvious but both feet should be pointing forward at all times. You are moving straight ahead and want all of your body momentum to follow suit. Ideally, you want to have a mid-to-front foot landing stance, too.
5) Stride efficiency
Again, go with what feels natural to you but don’t feel tempted to try and over-stride, but rather, a quick turnover of shorter, lighter steps is easier on your body. Heavy pounding or bouncing into every forward burst can lead to injury.