As I continue on my “running journey”, I am always looking for ways to improve my overall fitness and technique as I progress. Like many activities, proper technique is very important to prevent injury and to build muscle and tone. Here are some great running technique tips to add into your training program:
Correct Stride Length:
Stride length is important in many sports and developing the correct stride will reduce the chance of injury to your lower legs. Think about taking shorter running strides rather than longer “gazelle” type movements. Short strides may feel quicker, but have less impact and are less ground covering which reduces shin, ankle, foot and knee pain over time. A shorter running stride also means engaging the larger muscles in your thighs and toning your butt!
The order in which your feet strike the ground is very important – keep note whether your heel strikes the ground first or if it’s your forefoot. Although most runners run from heel to toe it is now being noted that heel strikers are prone to more repetitive stress injuries rather than runners whose forefeet strike the ground first.
There are many different shoes on the market, and it is best to have ones properly fitted for your feet at a running store before following a trendy shoe you may see being advertised. Although barefoot running shoes have been around for a while, they can lead to more Achilles and heel pain. As a rule of thumb, if you have high arches, get a well cushioned shoe, whereas flat feet require a stabilizing shoe with arch support. Remember that when buying shoes, have well fitting socks that you will be using daily to run with. Something thinner or thicker will make the shoe fit differently.
Whether you are weight or cardio training, proper posture is key to properly executing any exercise. In running, keep your shoulders square to keep your spine in proper alignment. From a straight spine alignment, keep your pelvis and hips in line leading down to your legs. Arms should be at no more than a 90 degree angle allowing them to swing freely at your own pace. As with most exercises, focus on tightening your abs and also placing much of the impact in your butt.
Begin to incorporate these techniques into your daily jogging routine to optimize your training. Remember that gradual changes are much more beneficial and can reduce the risk of injury rather than making drastic changes.
Enjoy your running journey and the positive effects it will have on your body, mind , mood and fitness level!
By Sarah Bamber