Proper Running Technique and Positioning
Congratulations! You made a commitment to learn how to run, or perhaps you are working on improving your running ability. Either way, proper running technique and positioning is important to improve your running efficiency, prevent injuries and help you feel your best when running. Proper running form will help you feel more comfortable, avoid common injuries and prevent fatigue on longer runs. Training the right way from the beginning will set you up for success down the road.
If you are new to running, you may have looked at seasoned runners and thought, how do they make it look so easy! Their running technique is almost effortless!
Follow the tips outlined below and with practice, you too will be gliding through your long runs like a pro.
- Look straight ahead – Try to keep your neck straight, ears directly over your shoulders. Avoid looking down at your feet. Not only is looking down not safe, this forward flexion position places a lot of strain on your neck.
- Relax your arms and hands – Your wrists should stay around waist level. Arms and hands should be loose and relaxed. Try to avoid tensing your shoulders, arms and hands. Move into a fluid motion of pumping your arms forward and back as you run. This motion should be effortless and not forced.
- Check your posture – Your spine should remain straight when running. Ears over shoulders, shoulders over your hips. Take your hips with you as you run. Avoid flexing forward when you run as this places increased strain on your back.
- Avoid bouncing –When running think horizontal not vertical. If you find yourself bouncing when running, this means you are pushing your body up vertically which you want to avoid. Bouncing wastes a lot of energy and increases the force placed on your joints. Try to think horizontal, keep your stride low and run lightly.
- Quick light steps – Your cadence is the rate of steps taken every minute of running. A high cadence has been shown to reduce running related injuries, specifically a quick cadence decreases the load placed on your knee and hip joints (1). When logging your miles aim for light quick steps and avoid longer length steps.
Written by Kim Hall – Physio2U CEO & Founder, Registered Physiotherapist
Since the start of Physio2U in early 2012, it has grown to the largest in-home physiotherapy company in Western Canada. Kim is a strong believer in life-long learning. Through the University of British Columbia, Kim has mentored internationally trained physiotherapists and has completed a pilot study on an exercise program she helped create specific to people recovering from joint replacement surgery. She is an active member of the provincial Arthritis Continuing Education (ACE) Network, National Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA), SportMed BC Physiotherapy Association of BC and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. In April 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the College of Physical Therapists of BC.
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