5 tips for improving running technique
Running technique is important because it helps reduce the risk of injury and improves efficiency and performance to allow you to get a personal best in your race! So here are 5 top tips to improve your running technique! Whether you heel strike, land on the mid foot or forefoot, there are a few ways in which you can improve your run.
- Do not over-stride.
It doesn’t matter what foot type you are when running, if the foot is not in line with the knee on initial contact (when the foot initially touches the ground), you are over-striding. If you are over-striding, you are placing more stress on the body, in particular the knees. It acts as a braking force, and this can lead to knee injuries and hamstring strains, especially if the knee is straight during initial contact. In the picture below, you can see this runner is over-striding. The yellow line is where the ankle joint is and the blue line is where the knee joint is. The ankle should be directly underneath the knee joint so therefore the yellow line should be where the blue line is.
So start by doing some cadence training. The step rate needs to be a small increase of around 5-10%. Increasing your cadence can lead to less over-striding, less bouncing and a decrease in initial loading. You need to be aiming for 90 steps per minute. Remember, this is step rate per minute for one leg. So remember when calculating your cadence, to record how many steps you take in one minute on the right leg.
- Keep upright.
It is really hard to stay upright and run tall, especially if you sit at a desk all day, or drive all day. Ever go out on your lunch break for a quick run? You are most likely going to be in the same slouchy posture in running when you were sitting down. Sitting for long periods causes short and tight hip flexors (front of the thigh) and weak glutes (buttocks). This becomes problematic when we run as we adopt the same posture and this can cause all kinds of injuries from shoulder pain to heel pain. It limits the amount of hip extension we have which is important in running as it helps push us off the ground and helps to propel forwards. Below is a simple stretch for the front of the hips that will help this problem.
- Breathe properly
Getting your breathing right is an important part of running. You need to be getting the maximal amount of oxygen in your lungs to help your muscles stabilise your pelvis better. You should be breathing in AND out through both your mouth and your nose. It’s important to get the rhythm right too, so for every 2-3 strides you take, you need to be inhaling, and the same for exhaling. If you are running faster, you need to decrease the ratio, so for every 2 strides of inhalation, it would be 1 stride of exhalation. Do you know how to breathe through your belly? This is another good way to maximise your breathing. If you would like to know how, please do get in contact and a video will be sent to you on how to use your diaphragm when breathing. Running posture is important so you need to be upright and have a good upper back posture to allow more oxygen to get into the lungs. Check out this video for improving upper back mobility.
- Strengthen the glutes and core
These muscles help provide stability around the pelvis, trunk and hips and can help reduce the risk of running-related injuries in the lower limb. If these muscles are weak or imbalanced, you have a greater chance of injury. Every runner needs to be implementing 3 days a week of strengthening and stabilising these areas to help improve running performance. Glute bridges and single leg glute bridges along with dead bugs are a great place to start. If you would like some help with a running program or would like to get your running looked at, please get in touch and we will build you a better body for running.
- Keep your body relaxed
Keeping your shoulders relaxed can help with arm motion. If you are constantly tense this could lead to excessive motion that’s not needed, e.g. more rotation in the trunk because your arms swing too much. This can lead to injury and you will be using way too much energy to help stabilise and control the rest of your body. If you keep them relaxed, it will provide more balance, rhythm and power when you run. If you start to run faster, you will get more arm motion. This is normal and must happen because you have increased speed which means you will get more motion, but the movement pattern should stay the same.
Hopefully this gets you your personal best, but if you are running and in pain, please get in contact and book in for a half price injury consultation. CALL 07746897647 or BOOK ONLINE!