Good Form Running
Good Form Running addresses the four most important biomechanical issues influencing running form today. Running and walking are important skills to be learned yet for most of us we have never been taught proper form. Good Form Running is the opportunity to keep you exercising longer, more efficiently and injury free.
Running faster, in good form, injury free and reaching personal goals are what runners strive for. As children we ran naturally and in good form without constraints. Through the years, our footwear has evolved providing cushion and protection for our feet, disabling our mind/muscle connection. By wearing footwear, our muscles adapt to specific movement patterns. In many cases these specific movement patterns equate to inefficient running forms that lead to muscle stress and even injuries. Our muscles and mind need to be taught how to work efficiently together by practicing good muscle memory exercises. Good Form Running and proper footwear are keys to lessening the stresses that causes strain and injuries while running.
Chi running, Pose running, Romanov’s theory and even barefoot running are among the many types of running forms that are often discussed today. Although you can get lost in the history of running forms and their individual idiosyncrasies, there are specific reoccurring body movements that appear within each one. These common principles are the foundation to Good Form Running: Posture, Lean, Midfoot and Cadence. Our simple four point guide allows runners of all ages and abilities to retool their muscles and mind to run more efficiently, injury free and maybe even faster.
Posture and Arms
Standing tall, engaging a strong core and staying relaxed are keys in your transformation to good form. Compromising our posture by leaning past our ankles forward or backwards redirects our energy into the ground resulting in wasted energy. You may hear terms such as the “v” position or “bucket seat,” depending on the direction of the lean. Resetting your posture by reaching for the sky automatically engages your core to get you out of these positions.
Arm use provides us a significant increase of power. Keep arms relaxed and at a 90° angle, moving in the forward motion with a strong wrist. Crossing over the body’s midline or over rotation of wrists, arms and torso can cause undo stress on our knees, back, neck and shoulders.
In good posture, a slight lean from your ankles, a mere shift of your body weight forward, will allow you to utilize gravity to pull you forward versus using muscle force. A proper lean allows you to engage a strong forward motion from your gluteus, the largest muscle group in the body. Commonly we drag our leg with the quadriceps, the third largest muscle, causing us to become unbalanced and our hips to shift within our running movement.
When we refer to midfoot we are referring to the middle of your foot. Landing underneath your body on your midfoot gives stability and efficiencies that we lose when over striding and heel striking occurs. Heel striking is like putting on a brake with each step potentially causing shin splits, runner’s knee, iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and other force-production injuries. Over striding sets us up for heel striking and takes away the use of the greatest spring in our body – the knee. Think about the motion of riding a bicycle: our knee is slightly bent moving in a circular pattern. Now convey that to the movement pattern of running: lead with your knee, land on your midfoot and keep the stride behind you coming from the power of your gluteus.
Cadence studies go back to research comparing speed and stride length. Findings proved that increasing the rate of foot strikes shortened stride lengths and lessened the opportunity for injuries. Aiming for 180 foot strikes per minutes brings the other 3 point’s full circle to reach Good Form. Increasing your cadence eliminates the opportunity of reaching out to heel strike, shifting at the hips or compromising our posture and lean to unnecessary stress and wasted energy in running.
Long term changes in biomechanics takes many miles of practice and focus but Good Form Running allows an easy and simple transition to better form. Join runners from all over the United States who are embracing these 4 simple points. Effective and immediate Good Form Running is the future of running.