Introduction: Whether you’re a beginner or experienced runner, proper running technique is essential for maximizing enjoyment and reducing the risk of injury. Running technique is the biomechanical and physical aspects of running, and can be improved by mastering the right moves, posture, and breathing. Improving your running technique can have countless benefits, so it’s worth investing some time and effort to make sure you are running in the most effective and efficient way possible. Here are 5 easy steps to get you on your way to improved running technique.
A. Definition of Running Technique: Running technique refers to the biomechanical and physical aspects of running. It involves mastering the right moves, posture, and breathing to ensure you are running in the most efficient way possible. Some key areas to focus include your footstrike, knee lift, arm movement, core stability, and breathing.
B. Reasons why improving running technique is important: Improving your running technique can help ensure you are running in the most effective and efficient way possible. It can also lead to improved performance and reduced risk of injury, since correct technique can help reduce the impact on your body. In addition, improved running technique can allow you to run faster and farther with less effort and fatigue. All of these reasons make it essential to focus on your running technique.
Step 1: Output is Proportional to Input
The saying ‘you get out what you put in’ definitely rings true when it comes to running technique. Achieving the improved running technique you desire begins with understanding the anatomy of your legs and putting in the effort to improve muscle strength and flexibility.
A. Anatomy of the Legs
To achieve improved running technique, you must begin by understanding the anatomy of the legs and how different muscle groups contribute to running performance. Your legs are composed of a complex muscular system of muscles including the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors. Working together, these muscle groups power your running stride and overall performance.
B. Improving Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Now that you understand the anatomy of the legs, it’s time to start improving your muscle strength and flexibility. Strength training with weight machines, bodyweight exercises, and band exercises can all help you to better engage the muscles in your legs when running. Additionally, dynamic stretching and static stretching can both help to improve the flexibility in your legs, allowing them to more effectively propel you towards success.
Step 2: Start With Strides
Strides can be an incredibly helpful tool for any runner looking to improve their technique. Before getting into the nitty gritty of how to do them properly, let’s start with the basics of understanding what strides are and how they can help you.
A. Definition of Strides
At its core, a stride is a short, controlled, speed workout performed at about 90% intensity of a full sprint. They usually last between 15 and 30 seconds, are relatively low in distance (anything between 50 to 200m is ideal) and most importantly, they must always finish with a slow recovery. Strides help to remind your body how it needs to feel to move with proper technique at a higher intensity.
B. Understanding how Strides can Help
Strides are particularly useful at teaching you the ability to control your body during the acceleration phase of running. One of the most common mistakes with running technique is accelerating too quickly, which can cause you to quickly become out of breath and struggle to achieve personal bests. It is important to learn to control your body during a stride so that when you reach higher speeds you can still maintain your technique.
Strides are also useful for teaching your body to run with an efficient running form. With strides, you can focus on body position and efficiency on a shorter distance and so it does not become too difficult to think about the bigger picture. As you become more comfortable with running strides, you can begin introducing drills to challenge your technique such as high knee drills and practice arm carriage.
Strides are an effective way to build your running technique and can have a huge benefit when it comes to injury prevention, as they help to strengthen the muscles most commonly used while running. You should aim to incorporate one session of strides a week into your running plan in order to see the best results.
Step 3: Form Matters
As an avid runner, you know that one of the most important parts of running is having the right form. The way you carry yourself and the way your feet strike the ground can make or break your run. Here are some key tips to make sure your posture and foot strike are on point so you can improve your running technique.
A. Key Tips for Posture and Foot Strike
1. Stand tall and concentrate on lengthening your spine. Keep your face and gaze forward, keeping a slight forward lean from your ankles, not your waist.
2. Bend your arms at the elbows and keep them close to your sides with your hands relaxed. This will help you maintain balance when your stride increases or when you encounter different terrains.
3. When you take your steps, strike the ground with your heel first, pushing your foot off the ground with a quickness. You want to keep your body tall and avoid slouching, so ensure your hips stay level and you don’t lean too far forward.
B. Maintaining Proper Alignment
1. Aim to keep your leg straight, knee unlocked and slightly bent, as you move through your stride. This way your body will be better equipped to absorb the impact and shock of the ground when you land.
2. Avoid braiding your legs to keep your body in line during your stride. Make sure you have a relaxed foot strike, transfer your weight from one foot to the other with a smooth, even progression and avoid rocking your body.
Following these tips will help you to improve not only your running technique but also your efficiency and speed. Use these simple steps in your running routine and you’ll be sure to see an improvement!
Step 4: Pay Attention to Detail
Now that you’ve figured out body posture and appropriate leg motion, arm swing and found the best breathing pattern, there is one final step on the journey to improved running technique. This last step is to pay attention to detail.
A. Arm Swing
When it comes to arm swing, many runners make the mistake of not making enough of an effort. In order to get the full benefits from proper arm swing, you need to make sure your arms are moving with a purpose, rather than just by default. This means engaging them in a rhythmically consistent fashion for the duration of your run. To make sure you’re doing this correctly, keep your arms loose and flick your wrists as your elbows swing. Many runners see an improvement in length and stride when they perfect their arm swing technique.
B. Finding the Best Breathing Pattern
Breathing is an important component of running, and figuring out the most effective way to breathe while running can be complicated. While there are many different techniques to choose from, the best option is to find the pattern that feels most natural and comfortable to you. Many runners find that in-breath count of 3-2-3 and an out-breath count of 2-3-2 is the best way to stay on top of their breathing while running. Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that works best for you.
To summarize, focusing on paying attention to detail is the last step on the path to improved running technique. Remember to make your arm movements purposeful with rhythmically consistent swings and find the best breathing pattern for you to get the most out of your running.
Step 5: Train For Efficiency
Now that you’ve established a solid running base and have mastered a variety of drills to improve your running technique, you’re ready to put it all together! The best way to do that is to train for efficiency.
A. Longer and Slower Distance
The most beneficial way to train for efficiency is to increase your distance, while keeping your speed to a steady, sustainable pace. This will help your body become accustomed to running longer distances effectively, while also incrementally improving your speed. Make sure to give yourself plenty of rest between runs to allow your body to rest and recover properly and to deepen the adaptive changes to your running technique.
B. Interval Training
Interval training is a great way to work on your speed and to train for efficiency. Alternate short bursts of faster running with slow jogging or walking. This will allow your body to learn how to settle into a steady, sustainable pace, while also pushing your body to reach a higher gear. As you get comfortable with the intensity of the intervals, gradually increase the duration and intensity of the workout. This type of training will come in handy for races and other endurance events.
By training for efficiency, you’ll be able to maximize your fitness gains from running with improved technique and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your running goals. Now get out there and have fun with it!
If you’re looking to improve your running technique, this article is just what you need. The five easy steps outlined in this blog will help you get there – no matter your current level of fitness. They will help you to become a faster and more efficient runner, all while avoiding injuries.
The five steps to improved running technique are as follows:
Step 1 – Start slow: Whether you’re a newbie starting out on your running journey or a seasoned professional honing your skills, it’s important to start at a manageable level and work your way up. Remember, you can always increase your pace as your fitness level develops.
Step 2 – Feel the ground: It’s important to be aware of the surface you are running on and to adjust your technique accordingly. This means lifting your instep a fraction higher when running on softer ground, for example.
Step 3 – Use your arms: Don’t be tempted to keep your arms static; use them in combination with your legs to help you propel forward. Swing them in large circles backwards and forwards which helps to keep your wrists relaxed and adds power to fighting gravity and fatigue.
Step 4 – Lean forward: When you get into your running stride, make sure to keep a slight forward leaning position. This will help to reduce the pressure on your ankles and calves.
Step 5 – Concentrate: Lastly, focus on what you’re doing. Try to be mindful of your technique and correct any incorrect form you might be using so that you don’t run the risk of injury.
Improving your running technique can bring with it a range of benefits. Firstly, you’ll be able to run more economically, meaning you can run for longer distances with less energy. This will also reduce the risk of injury, as you’ll be running more efficiently. You’ll also be less likely to suffer from post-run fatigue, as you’ll be using your energy more effectively. With improved technique, you’ll also be able to work on speed, as the basics of running technique are the same for fast and slow runs. With these five easy steps, you can be sure of improved running technique and all the beneficial effects that come with it.