Running strong and the importance of good form

Most people assume that getting off the couch to run is going to be enough to guarantee good health – and they could not be more wrong. Even when running, proper form matters. Running without paying attention to the proper form could lead to serious injuries or complications. We will look at several different factors that you have to consider when running.

Tilting the head

The way you hold your head is going to be important to your overall posture. Your overall posture is going to determine how efficiently you run. Most beginners make the mistake of looking down at their feet, when you should scan the horizon, looking ahead naturally. This brings your neck and back into alignment by straightening them.

Shoulders have to be low and loose

You want the upper body relaxed while you run, and your shoulders play an important role in accomplishing that. Being relaxed allows you to maintain an efficient running posture. Do not keep your shoulders high and tight, but rather let them be low and loose. Do not allow your shoulders to creep towards your ears as you become tired while running either. Instead, release the tension by shaking your shoulders.

Your arms matter too

While most would argue that running is predominantly a lower-body activity, the arms matter. Your hands are going to control the tension in your upper body. If you swing your arms the same way that you are legs are striding, it is going to drive you forward. You want to have your hand in an unclenched fist, fingers barely touching your palms. Keep the elbows at a 90-degree angle and swing your arms back and forth, not to the side.

The position of the torso

The position of your head and shoulders is going to affect the position of your torso while running. If you have your shoulders low and loose and your head up looking ahead, your torso is automatically going to straighten naturally. Running in this upright position allows for maximum stride length and optimal lung capacity.
Most running coaches would describe the ideal position by saying that you have to ‘run tall’, meaning your back is comfortably straight and you are stretching yourself up to your full height. If you find that you are losing this positioning, a deep breath is going to straighten your body naturally.

It is all in the hips

Hips are essential to a good running posture because they are our body’s centre of gravity. If you ensure that your torso is in the right position while running, it also manages to push your hips in the ideal position at the same time. With both your back and torso comfortably straight and upright, your hips are going to point straight ahead – their natural proper alignment.

Your pelvis is going to tilt forward if you allow your torso to lean too far forward or hunch over during your run. This can throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment and put pressure on your lower back.
Keep your legs in check

Sprinters want to achieve maximum leg power by lifting their knees as high as they can go. However, if you are running for distance, this is not necessary. The exaggerated knee lift is difficult to sustain for a prolonged period of time. If you are an endurance runner, you want to focus on a short stride, quick leg turnover, and a slight knee lift. That combination with facilitate fluid forward movement.

If you use the proper stride length when running, your feet should land right underneath your body each time. You should keep your knee slightly flexed as the foot hits the ground. This allows a natural bend on impact. Your stride is too long if your lower leg (anything below the knee) extends out in front of your body.

Your ankles and feet

You need to push off the ground with maximum force in order to run well. Every step that you take, your foot should land anywhere between the mid-foot and your heel and quickly roll forward. You can create more force for push-off by keeping your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward. When you do this, you are going to feel your calf muscles drive you forward with every step that you take. Keep in mind that good running is springy and quiet, your feet should not hit the ground too loudly.

Questions – concerns – already injured?

These tips should help you keep running strong. However, what can you do if you do not know how to pay attention to your form or have already strained your body in such a way that you feel discomfort when you go for your run? In those cases, the specialists at Total Back Care are capable of helping you determine what the issue is, and what you can do to avoid it in the future. Call to schedule an appointment today by calling 8357 8211.