This is the foundation of running and can determine how well you progress during these next 13 weeks! It is also integral to the prevention of injuries, as poor form can put excessive stress on the joints & tissues during repetitive, long-duration exercise. This may lead to the development of a more chronic overuse injury.
Utilizing proper technique also helps prevent the wasting of valuable energy reserves, which are needed by your muscles to get you through your training session. Remember, we all have a natural running style, so use these guidelines to help ensure you are running as efficient & economical as possible!
· When planting your feet, ensure that they are pointed forward, parallel to one another.
· Foot placement should be directly underneath your hip with the knee slightly flexed (this will help prevent over-striding!)
· When you “toe-off” at the end of each stride, you want to propel your body straightforward instead of sideways.
· It is important to emphasize the backwards acceleration or driving backwards of the thigh when you strike the ground with your foot.
· Hip flexibility and mobility directly affects your stride length. Good range of motion is crucial to an efficient, injury-free running style. If the major muscles of the hip are too tight, the result can be a short/choppy “shuffling” form of running.
· Keeping the hip flexors well stretched and mobile will help immensely. Ask one of your Leaders to demonstrate a few hip flexor stretches…. and a good foam rolling session can do wonders!
Torso (Upper Body)
· Your chest should be lifted with your pelvis tucked in (neutral position). Think of “running tall”
· Try not to twist your upper body, as this can cause your feet to criss-cross over the midline as you strike the ground. This is an inefficient and injury-prone form of running!
· Proper arm movement is also beneficial to the flow of the whole body while you are running. Try this drill: Hang your arms at your side and begin to run without moving them… not so easy, right?! Your arms are a key player in helping to maintain balance, forward momentum, and forward flow!
· While running, you should have a natural arm swing that begins at the shoulder joint. Keep your arms bent (aim for approx. 90°) at the elbow, with your fingers slightly curled (but not clenched)
· Your shoulders should be low and loose (NOT high & tight!)… this can lead to muscle tension and wasted energy!
· Focus on keeping your shoulders square, and driving the arms backwards only. This will create a rebound effect, and send the arms forward.
Ask one of your Leaders to observe your RunWalk technique – they are happy to share their expertise!