Thursday, August 18, 2011

Running Form Pointers

I have somehow managed to coerce, er I mean, encourage many of my friends to pick up running in the past couple months.  It is wonderful!  They are coming to me with their questions, their stories and letting me know how good it feels to get out there and move.  A few of them have had concerns about their form.  Since I live away from them and don't get to see them while they are running, I thought I would summarize some of the important points of running form.

1)  Body Position- You want to have nice tall posture with your shoulder blades pulled back and your shoulders relaxed.  Your body should be slightly leaning forward with your chest out, but the bend is not at your hips.  Stand up right now and lean forward with your chest.  What happened?  You probably fell forward.  If you lean like that, sort of from your ankles, you body will naturally want to move forward.  Now you just have to get your feet to follow.

2)  Foot Strike-  Now that you have the mean lean down, everything should fall into place.  You never want to kick your foot out in front of your body.  If I were watching you run from the side, your chest would be winning.  You should be taking steps and landing on the middle to front of your foot.  If you do kick your foot out in front of your body, you would be likely to strike with your heel first.  This is a lot of jarring on your body and can lead to injuries.  So, try to keep those feet under you and land on the middle of your sole.

3) Cadence-You are not going to become a faster runner by leaping and bounding your way through the miles.  You will become a faster runner by consistently running and keeping a good cadence.  A good cadence is about 180 steps per minute.  You can test yours by running for 10 seconds and counting how many times your right foot hits the ground.  The right answer is about 15 times.  When you first start running or getting into higher mileage, it can be hard to keep this cadence for the entire run.   Work on it and maintain it for as long as you can and you will your speed increase.

4) Arm Position-  You will see people doing all sorts of crazy things with their arms but try to keep them fairly relaxed and don't let them cross your midline.  If you swing them across your body you will end up wasting a lot of energy twisting all over the place.  Think about driving your elbows straight back with each arm swing but keeping your hands and shoulders relaxed.

That is it!  Take this info with you on your next run and try some of these things out.  Stay tuned for a few run specific drills that will help you with this!

-Coach A

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