Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running Posture and Foot Placement

When I met with my running coach, he taught me the four keys to having good running form.  I have discussed having a cadence of 180 steps per minute and proper arm swing in my past blog posts.  I will talk about running posture and where your feet should strike the ground in this blog post.   

Most people don’t think of their posture when they run.  I know that I sure didn’t.  I was more worried about just finishing my runs and not my form.  There became a point where my runs got easier to finish and I wanted to focus on getting faster.  Having the right running form will not only help with your speed, but you will use less energy and will be less sore afterwards.  Having the right form is also a great way to reduce the risk of getting injured.  

It will take a practice to change your running form, so be patient.  You want to run with your chest forward while trying to stand tall.  You will want to have your shoulders back and relaxed.  You want to look straight ahead and keep your head at a neutral position.  If you look too far down or too far up, your head will throw your balance off.  I try to look about 25 feet ahead at the ground. 

You will also want to lean slightly forward.  A good way to figure out how far to lean is to stand with your feet at hips width apart.  Start leaning forward bending at the ankles (not bending your knees or waist).  As soon as you feel your heels lift off the ground, you have found your optimal leaning angle.  

It is important to know where your foot strikes the ground when thinking about running form.  Your foot should land directly under your hips and you should be landing softly.  If your foot lands in front of your hips, you will most likely be heel striking, which is one of the primary causes of shin splints, as well as knee and hip pain.  If you overstride, or try to have huge strides, you are actually slowing yourself down because your feet spend more time on the ground.  Think of it as putting the brakes on.  That is why having a quick cadence and having your feet land underneath you are so important.  

Hopefully this information on running form has been helpful to you.  I can tell you from my own personal experience that changing my running form has helped me run faster, more efficiently, and injury free.  If you have any questions on running form, please feel free to comment or email me and I will get back to you.

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