Running with the proper form is more difficult that you would think. Lots of people (non runners and naturally-good runners) seem to think that you should be able to go out and just run and the proper form will just happen. This isn’t necessarily the case. Unless you are a natural, you might have to work at your form a little bit.
I love this picture of Keith because he it shows great form. You can see the knee coming up a little in the front, the foot of the right leg is about to land directly under his body rather than way out in front and he’s pushing off with the toes of his left foot. It also makes him look like he’s going really fast 🙂 Nothing like a great action shot! Don’t just assume this comes natural to him either- he also works at it and has spent lots of runs working on his form.
Everyone, however, can have this form; you just have to know what you’re supposed to do and work at it. Here are some tips:
1. Land MIDFOOT- this is probably the hardest and most confusing for most. if you’re landing on your heel and rolling forward that probably means your leg is going way out in front of your body. this means you are over-striding and essentially throwing your foot out there as a brake. this will definitely slow you down. if you’re landing on your toes, you are not allowing your calves, shins, and achilles the opportunity to loosen up and will probably suffer from a case of shin splints. also, landing on your toes causes more bouncing so you are spending a lot of energy going up and down rather than forward. ***one of the best things you can do that will most likely cause you to naturally land on your midfoot is to do some speed strides- for 20 seconds or so, run at about 70 % of your max (it may feel like a sprint)- your legs and feet will naturally end up where they should be.
2. Avoid bouncing. when i first started running i would always complain that i felt like i wasn’t going forward. that’s probably because i was bouncing up and down. don’t picture me on a pogo stick- it’s not this obvious but it happens. one of the biggest reasons people do this is that they’re running slower than their body’s natural ability. to avoid bouncing, try a quicker foot turnover. count your footsteps for 60 seconds. now run another 60 seconds but try to have 5 more steps per foot in that time. see how that feels; eventually you’ll find your natural rhythm and you will run more forward; essentially faster.
3. Try to push off of your toes in the back. this doesn’t have to be exaggerated but it will help to propel you forward and it will also help you to engage your glutes. our glutes (aka- butt) are a large muscle and the more we can activate them in our runs, the better our run will be.
4. Keep your gaze ahead rather than down. try not to look down at your feet. this will cause you to hunch over which, in turn, is going to block your air flow from getting all the way down into your belly. if you concentrate on looking out ahead of you, you will naturally keep your spine more straight which will help you to breathe better and run more efficiently.
5. Keep your shoulders relaxed. concentrate on rolling your shoulders down your back.
6. Keep your hands relaxed. don’t squeeze your fists- this will cause your entire to body flench up.
7. Don’t allow your arms to swing across your body. you do NOT want your cross over your belly button to the opposite side. this will cause you to be less efficient and will likely cause some neck pain. they need to go forward and they need to hinge from the shoulders, not the elbows.
sometimes it take some specific drills to get your form down. maybe we can do some strides and form drills when everyone’s up for it! just let me know; i’m willing to do whatever it takes to help!