When it involves correct running Form, your legs could be obtaining most of the action .But that does not mean you must ignore the relaxe of your body. Your muscles work in a kinetic chain, so if there’s a weak link, it can manifest into pain and lead to injury.
“The most typical issue that I see starts up at the neck and shoulders,” says Michael Olzinski, run coach at Precision Run, a treadmill studio in New York City. “If you have a lot of tension and tightness in those joints, it will cause some dysfunction down the kinetic chain into the hips and legs,” he explains.
Is there such thing as “proper running form”?
Olzinski says correct running Form helps to reduce physical stress within the joints and tendons. “If you run smoothly with good forward momentum, you will be removing the negative pressures of impact, which can lead to injuries for many athletes,” he says.
That said, there ‘re many alternative effective forms to run with correct way. “It’s hard to say that one is perfect or ideal. In reality, correct running Form appearance sleek and easy,” Olzinski says. But if you want to run with efficiency, you have to be more mindful of how your body lands with each stride. So on your next run, ask yourself: Are you arching your back? Are you hunching your shoulders? Are you using your arms?
Your responses will help you figure out what you can do to further improve your form, so you can cross the finishlinestronger and faster than ever. Hey, no one ever said setting a new PR would be easy, but incorporating these form tips into your training will help you become an all-around better runner. Here’s what you must be doing to confirm you are running with correct Form.
The upper body is one of the most underrated areas for runners, hence why it’s one of the first areas to give under fatigue. Olzinski says you should have a slight forward lean—not completely upright—when you’re running because that’s the direction you want to move your body in, after all. “For correct alignment, keep your head and shoulders forward, slightly before of the hips and pelvis, that must successively be slightly ahead of the feet,” Olzinski says. This means that your feet should be behind the rest of your body, and your forehead and sternum at the very front.
Your arms and hands
Sure, your legs are what’s going to drive you to that finisher’s medal, but your arms and hands are what’s going to ultimately chase down a personal best. Many runners tend to forget to use their arms, however they play a key role in propellent the body forward, particularly throughout huge climbs.
“The arm swing is crucial and should look supple and rhythmic. In general, I like to see athletes with their elbows behind the shoulders for most runs and most efforts,” Olzinski says. “The only time you really need to see the elbows forward would be if you are truly sprinting or working up a very steep hill.”
If you think about it, running with your hands and arms in front of your body pushes your center of gravity backward—not forward. So if you retain your arms and elbows behind the chest, you will offer your body additional momentum for every stride, Olzinski says.
There’s a reason many run coaches and trainers stress strengthening the core. Your core is essentially your powerhouse—the bridge between your upper and lower body. So you should engage your core, otherwise your upper and lower body don’t work together, and you run the risk of putting more pressure on your joints.
“When we tend to run in correctitude, we’re inserting the core of the movements within the largest and most capable muscle joints and groups,” Olzinski explains. “Your hips and trunk—which are part of your core—can really handle the pressures of hard running, whereas your knees and ankle really can’t if they’re doing all the work.”
Your legs and feet
Covering greater distances on your runs doesn’t necessarily mean you should widen your strides. In fact, Olzinski says it’s best to think more about foot speed and developing power behind each stride because these factors are easier to control. When people think about “widening” their strides, they usually end up over-reaching and getting one foot too far out in front of the body, which can lead to injury, Olzinski says.
“I usually preach a faster, faster cadence when going downhill or in the final kick of a big race. You want to apply more force into the ground so that the reaction to that force pushes you further along the ground with each step,” Olzinski says.
To apply this, Olzinski recommends building “horizontal power” through exercises, like strides, hill repeats, bounding, skipping drills, and even single leg jumps. Single-leg exercises like these not only help build strength in the lower body, but they teach you how to recruit muscles in your core and upper body to maintain stability and balance. “Generally, if an athlete can get more force into the ground with each step, then they can gain some free speed because each stride will take them farther at the same effort level,” he says.
Your running form checklist
At the end of the day, keeping these running form tips in mind will help you move more efficiently and help you reach your goals, while preventing injury. Keep this quick list in mind as you’re running to help you power through:
Head and shoulders are forward
Arms are swinging with elbows behind shoulders
Your core is engaged and most of the movements are placed on your torso and hips
Your feet are moving quickly, careful not to over-reach with one foot too far out in front