Running well depends on your ability to transfer the energy from your body into the motion of running. The efficiency of that energy transfer is an element that is often missed by those trying to improve their running technique.
Good posture is vital if the energy you put in is not wasted through joint instability and poor biomechanics.
Bad running posture will lead to energy leaks from the body making running less efficient i.e harder, slower. Likewise a bad running posture will eventually result in you developing bad habits that may in turn lead to injuries. If not addressed this may set your progress back weeks if not months.
The following postural cues will help you improve the economy of movement during your run and establish the correct running movement pattern. Next time you run check if you tend to do anything counter to what is suggested below. Do not over think it. Just start with one point at a time and see how your body responds to the postural adaptations. Correcting any mistakes will make you a faster runner, will delay fatigue and prevent the onset of injury.
1. Chin: Keep your eyes on the horizon and keep the chin close to the parallel at all times. Avoid flexing or extending your cervical spine (neck) in a way that tilts the chin up or down during your run. A faster run, where a slight forward lean is encouraged will naturally drop the line of your eyesight down. In either case keep your chin roughly 90 degrees to your body.
2. Head: Avoid shifting your head forward ahead of your body or back. Aim to keep your head, shoulders and hips in alignment. Lengthening your neck and keeping it in line with the rest of your
spine will encourage the correct head position.
3. Shoulders: Keep shoulders relaxed to avoid undue stress. Prolonged runs (or even short for beginners) will cause fatigue to set in your shoulders. This will cause discomfort and compromise your running technique and economy. Keep your shoulders set back and down away from the ears.
4. Chest: Keep chest opened and proud as opposed to slouching. Keeping the shoulders set back and the sternum leading forward will lengthen your body and increase your lung capacity to the fullest.
5. Arms: Keep them at a 90 degree angle. Avoid swinging them across the body, instead keep the arms in the sagittal plane. As the arms move in conjunction with your legs, avoid large swings in order to keep up with the stride cadence.
6. Pelvis: It is important to avoid leaning forward at the hips. Such running technique, where your lumbar spine (lower back) is arched while you tilt forward at the hips, is very inefficient and may cause your back to ache. This is usually caused by poor awareness of the pelvic stability, the tightness in the hip flexors and weak core muscles – particularly lower abdominals in the area between your belly button and the pubic bone. Avoid hinging at the hips and maintain the head, shoulders, hip alignment.
Train your lower abdominals with this subtle but effective exercise:
- Lie on your back, arms rested by the hips, knees bent, feet flat on the floor away from the glutes, back slightly arched, shoulders relaxed.
- Inhale to prepare, exhale to tilt the pubic bone towards you as you imprint your lower back to the floor. Hold for 2-3 full breaths. inhale to release.
Do 12-15 repetitions 3 times a week until you get the feel for the sensation you must experience during your run if your back has a tendency to arch.
7. Feet: Leading from above it is better to encourage a forward lean at the ankles instead of at the hips. This promotes total body lean and feeds on the energy of gravity to to help you run forward.
8. Look at the videos of professional runners on YouTube to see the running technique of the best in the world
9. Record or have someone record a video of you running from the side and the front view. Compare this to the professional videos you viewed to notice any differences. If possible do this periodically to see how your running improves.
The above fundamentals are all you need to start running comfortably from today. The future articles will build on the above to perfect your running ability in no time.
With healthy wishes,
Read on “Born to Run”