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Run better by running right

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training tips

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By improving your running form, you can run faster because your body is moving more efficiently and you will reduce the risk of injury by putting less stress on your body.

The first step to improving your form is to look straight ahead and hold your head high. This action helps straighten your back and neck. If you feel tense, your chin will jut out. Take a deep breath to relax your jaw and neck, letting go of any tension.

As you get tired, your shoulders will tense up, rising up towards your ears as your muscles tighten.  Shake out any tension and hold your shoulders square and loose, making sure not to let them move up and down with your strides. The position of your head and shoulders will affect the position of your torso. By looking forward, keeping your shoulders square and loose, your torso and back will straighten naturally.  This allows you to run in an upright position, helping you achieves ideal stride length. If you start to slouch over, take a deep breath as this allows your body to straighten up. Take note to maintain the right position when you exhale.

Due to a lower centre of gravity in the hips, women need to make sure their head and upper body are aligned and relaxed. This puts your hips in a good position. If you hunch over too much, your pelvis will tilt forward. You will need to keep your breathing relaxed and deep to achieve maximum lung capacity. Try to develop a pattern, like 2-to-2 (breathing in for two steps and out for two steps, a 3-to-2 or 3-to-3. Try out different ratios to find out what works best for you.

Your hands control the tension in your upper body; when you start to feel tired, you may find yourself holding your hands up by your chest. This makes your shoulders and neck tense, resulting in you feeling more tired. Shake out the tension. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, relax your grip and wrists, and swing your arms from your shoulders. Keep in mind that your arms should not cross the centre of your body when swinging.

Efficient running only requires a short stride with a small knee lift and a quick leg changeover. This action enables fluid movement and helps you conserve energy so you can run longer. Make sure you keep your toes pointed forward, as running with your feet turned in or out can cause injuries. Take light, short steps and try not to take bigger steps than you can manage to avoid stumbling or over-stretching.

Finally, make sure to warm up before and after each run, so you don’t pull a muscle. Before you stop, gradually slow down in order to prevent cramps. Replenish your fluids with a sports drink or water after your run.

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