Correcting your running technique can prevent injuries and make you faster
Summer's just around the corner and the runners have come out in full force. Here are some tips if you'd like to run better and stronger.
I love to run and have for years. I mean I really love to run.
I've run for nine hours throughout the night on the trails around Squamish pacing a friend as he ran a 100 mile race. I've run to the Lions and back along the Howe Sound Crest Trail because I think it's fun. I've "celebrated" until 3 a.m. and then woken up at 8 a.m. the next morning to run a 40-minute Sun Run. I've coached a lot of runners and studied the sport.
You get the picture.
I also enjoy watching people run and move in general. I'm not a sicko stalker, I'm just a kinesiology geek. I like to figure out how their bodies are moving and if they are compensating in any way.
And I often cringe when I see runners plodding along with a grim look of determination.
Running is meant to be enjoyable. I know some speed workouts and hill runs can be tough, but for many of your runs you shouldn't be pushing yourself to the point of pain.
How to Improve Your Running Technique
Having good running technique will help you enjoy your runs more and you won't hurt.
Running technique has been on my mind a lot this week as I'm preparing to teach one of my running camps this weekend.
To help you enjoy your runs and make them more enjoyable, here are my top 10 running tips to help you with your running technique:
- Shorten your stride. I don't care if you're 4'9" or 6'6", don't take too long a step. Your foot should be landing under your body not in front of it.
- Pick up your cadence. I don't mean you should run faster, just take more steps at the same speed. This will help shorten your stride.
- Run tall. Don't slouch or lean forward from your hips. Your spine should stay long and strong.
- Land softly. Be as loud as a ninja not a jackhammer.
- Warm up before you run. Do some dynamic stretches like leg swings, lunges or some yoga poses without holding them too long.
- Stretch after you run. Do your old-school static stretches after running not before.
- Rehydrate. For runs under an hour plain water is fine. If you're doing longer runs in the heat, use a drink like e-load that contains electrolytes. You can find them at most running stores.
- Breathe. Find a comfortable rhythm between your foot strikes and your breaths.
- Swing your arms back and forth. Don't swing them across your chest or side to side. Your body shouldn't be rotating as they swing.
- Do some strength training. Do a couple of strength workouts each week which include lunges, squats and some core work.