Updated: Feb 17
If you're a beginner runner, this post might be beneficial for you.
To run correctly, you need to use the muscles and supporting joints used while you're running.
Thanks to the pandemic, our ways of moving our bodies have changed. We need to be more structured with our exercises, time isn't always on our side, but one thing is: the space we've got to work with and the flexibility from WFH, too.
It goes without being said that you need to be able to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. I suppose maybe that's why apps like Couch to 5K have become notorious for helping beginner runners thrive to run a 5k. Still, something is missing here: mastering your running form.
What is it, and how do you know your form is correct?
This might be my favorite question to address, but let's break it down with my seven tips below!
1) Your upper body should always lead.
Keep both shoulders facing forwards while also keeping them down and back. Lead with your chest and chin held nice and high, keeping your arm swing from your hip to your chin.
2) Pretend like you're holding two hardboiled eggs - relax your hands.
Be gentle, or else you'll break them! The eggs, that is. We don't want that.
3) Follow a triple extension pattern from your hip to your ankle.
This takes place going from your hips to your knees to your ankles, from the stance to the swing phase in your gait cycle.
4) Improve your cadence and work your speed!
At the same pace, try focusing on keeping your steps per minute the same. Even while switching up speeds. I'd recommend getting as close to 180-200 steps per minute as possible, depending on your current running economy, stride length and other characteristics that come into play. If you don't know, just ask! I'm only a message away.
5) Land your proper footstrike.
Make sure your foot strikes the ground right underneath your body. Don't overstride, landing both feet far away from your body. Remember that the key here is to allow your legs to land underneath it. This improves your running economy and prevents any heel striking and joint overbearing.
6) Posture will make your running form close to perfect.
Good posture is essential for injury prevention and for performing. Keep both shoulders down and back. Keep your chest facing ahead, and no flexed (or rounded) back. Check out how to fix your posture here. Also, look through my Instagram for some upper body push and pull strength-training movements to perform at home with your own bodyweight, too! Keep your neck aligned with your spine.
7) Eliminate your cross-body arm swing.
Just think of the terminator! For real! Keep the 90-degree angle at your elbows, propelling your arms in the sagittal plane, or non-gibberish, forwards, and backwards as shown below right here!
Always remember to BREATHE. This might be the most problematic drill to master. I have a client to this day who said she couldn't breathe from her diaphragm. Still, with consistency and accountability from me, her coach, she turned proper breathing into what became a new habit, allowing her to properly breathe down, deepening her breath into her pelvic floor, exhaling each breath from her diaphragm, not her sternum. And mobility along with dynamic stretches before your runs matter too! Same goes for static stretches following your runs. All of these drills will only help you to improve your running form while preventing injuries too!
For more on proper running form, check out my workshop that I'll be leading at Grindhouse this Wednesday at 6:00 pm EST! I'll be reviewing the running form cues mentioned above, proper running techniques, running drills, exercises to improve posture, dynamic stretches, mobility, and self-myofascial release! The session will be 60-minutes long and will be streamed LIVE on my IG LIVE. Don't miss out! Mark your calendar now.
Let's help you move functionally and learn how to run the PROPER way for LIFE!