3 Techniques to Improve Your Running Form

3 Techniques to Improve Your Running Form

Check Google for tips to "Improve your running form", and you may get lost inside a sea of scientific jargon, including phrases like stance time, swing phase, and stretch reflex. The chances are, however, that you're really looking for a few simple tips that will help you perfect your running techniques and reduce your chance of injury.

Instead of focusing on the science behind great running, stick to simple, easy-to-implement tricks that will improve your running form, enhance your comfort as you hit the pavement, and even speed up your lap times.

Slip on your calf compression sleeves for extra support, and get practicing.

1.    Find the Perfect Foot Strike

A lot of new runners tend to reach out too far with their foot when they're running, which creates an aggressive, heel-smashing foot strike that can damage your knees and send shock vibrating through your calf muscles.

Importantly, it's not landing on your heel that can lead to injury, but where the rest of your body is situated when your foot hits the floor. If you want to improve your running form, you should be looking to ensure that your foot makes contact with the ground directly beneath your body, rather than landing far in front of it. When there's a straight line from your hips to where your foot lands, you cut your risk of injury significantly by creating a more efficient, fluid stride.

2.    Stand Tall

Your mother was right - you really should stand up straight - especially when you're running.

Leaning from the waist as you run forwards, or slouching during a run is a common problem for many runners who try to perfect the "forward-lean" technique for running that they've been lead to believe helps them to be more aerodynamic. While a slight lean can be a good part of your running form, it should come from your ankles, not your waist.

The best part of this is that a slight forward lean from your ankles should happen naturally, without you even trying. In other words, you don't need to consciously lean to improve your running form, instead focus on keeping a tall posture, as though you're being pulled towards the sky.

3.    Improve your Cadence

The term "cadence" refers to the number of steps you take every minute - with both of your feet. The magic number in this regard is thought to be about 180 steps per minute - at least according to the running coach Jack Daniels.

Importantly, this number isn't set in stone when you want to improve your running form - rather it should be used as a general guideline. This will help to improve your efficiency, and reduce injury risk, by introducing a shorter, faster stride that avoids the high-impact strain of longer, harder strikes. In other words, you'll go faster, and get hurt less often.

Try counting the number of times your foot connects with the ground in a minute the next time you take a run, then times that number by 2 to calculate your cadence. If you find that your number of steps is below 170 try increasing it by about 5% every two to three weeks - after all, you're unlikely to transform into the perfect runner overnight.



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