Sunday, August 31, 2008

Running 101: The Proper Form for Runners

When I run, go through a number of checks to make sure I am running as efficiently as possible. That's because I am always concerned that I will run out of gas before I reach my distance goal. Just to be sure my form was correct, I found the article Tips for Proper Running Form on which written by marathon runner Christine Luff. In her article, Christine discusses nine tips for proper running form.
Here's a summary of Christine's tips with some editorial comments:
Look Ahead
Most of my runs are early in the morning when there's very little light. Since I sometimes cross busy streets, I make sure my eyes are forward. I occasionally look side-to-side to gauge the traffic.
Land Mid-foot
If you land predominantly on your heals, you will slow your run which is inefficient. Landing on your toes will strain your calves and/or lead to shin injuries. I have made the mistake of running on my heals and my toes. In both cases, my legs were sore for a few days until I learned to land on the ball of my foot.
Keep Your Hands at Your Waist
When I first started running long distances, I thought that I should move my arms swiftly up and down just link a sprinter or a walk-runner. Waving my arms wildly, I found that got tired quickly. Then I saw a woman running with her arms at her waist, so I tried her approach and discovered this change was just what I needed.
Relax Your Hands
Keep your hands in a fist and/or clinched will lead to fatigue. And even the slightest fatigue can cause you to shorten your run. I generally keep my hands relaxed (open) or lightly touch my thumb and index finger.
Check Your Posture
I read somewhere that most runners make the mistake of leaning forward which can put more stress on your spine, neck and shoulders. If you keep a straight posture, you reduce the chances of fatigue and pain.
Relax Your Shoulders
The shoulders should also be relaxed and square. Do not hunch over.
Rotate Your Arms from The Shoulder
The natural tendency of some runners is to bend at the elbows which is a waste of energy.
Don't Bounce
Bouncing is a waste of energy too. Try to maintain a smooth stride that is low to the ground.
Keep Your Arms at Your Side
Swinging the arms side-to-side is a waste of energy. It can also cause you to lean slouch and breathe inefficiently.


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