Proper Running Form For Speed And Better Endurance Levels
If you don’t have proper form when you run, then forget about ever winning any race, marathon, or achieving any fitness goal you have.
Because running with proper form is an indispensable ingredient that greatly affects every runner. Proper form is the easiest way to affect your running speeds and your endurance levels, but it’s also the easiest thing to mess up, resulting in frustration and potential injury.
So to avoid all these issues, lets dive right into the best techniques that involve your body and how it affects the way you run.
Starting From The Top: Head Positioning To Achieve Perfect Posture
Your head will drastically affect every run you do once you properly position it and know how to use it. Your posture starts at your head, which then affects your overall posture for the rest of your body. And it’s really simple to perfect.
Your head should be straight, looking forward. You don’t want your head to face down, up, or to either of your sides. This will not only affect you physically, but also mentally.
This is because the more you are focused on what’s in front of you, the more you will want to keep running to where your head is pointed. At least this is my experience. The more I look straight and focus my attention to the path where I want to go, I want to go there more, rather than if I were to look down or be focused on something to the side of me.
The easiest way to keep you attention and your head to focus on something in front of you is to look at the farthest you can see and lock your eyes on that object.
So for example, if you are running on the sidewalk, on the street, and you look down the street and see a stop sign, focus your attention on that stop sign and don’t keep your eyes off of it. Obviously you still need to look down and see if you are going to trip over anything, but just do a quick glance every now and then.
Just make it a habit of focusing on something so that not only are you achieving perfect head positioning, but also you are mentally preparing yourself, for better endurance levels.
Shoulders: The Starting Point Of Momentum
When you run you should keep your shoulders relaxed at all times. They should swing with every stride you take, but not excessively so that your body becomes out of sync with the rhythm of your run. Also don’t let your shoulders slump downward; this will affect your posture. Just make sure they are relaxed and you won’t have to do much more.
As you may notice when you start to become tired, your shoulders seem to rise up and become tense. If this happens shake out that tension and make it so that your shoulders become relaxed again. It is important that your body doesn’t become tense, which starts in your shoulders.
Arms: A New Pace For The Ages
There has been a lot of opinion on where or how to move you arms as you run.
Some may argue that arms should not move at all because it is wasted energy to move them. While others say what you do with your arms doesn’t affect your running.
All these claims sound convincing, but are all myths, and until someone actually tests all of these, there are some pointers as to where and how you move your arms when you run.
Your arms work with your legs to help make the running process easier to make you move forward efficiently. They set the pace for the upper body and help you keep in sync with your lower half.
Your arms should move in a backward and forward motion; starting from your hip to chest level, with your forearm perpendicular to the ground.
You should bend at your elbow to achieve this. Important: Don’t swing your arms across your chest, this will lead to wasted energy, and will also put tension on your shoulders.
You should make a fist in each hand, but make sure you don’t clinch your fists tightly, because you will be putting strain in your forearm, with will put tension on your body.
If you notice you start to clench your fists shake them out by releasing your fists.
If you have done all of the above correctly, you wont have to do much with your torso. You head, shoulders, and arms are what causes you torso to maintain posture and form. This form is when your back is perfectly straight, with your neck also straight, and your face looking forward.
This position promotes perfect breathing and causes less strain on your body, which in return increases endurance and diminishes tiredness. But if you do feel that you are beginning to slouch then immediately position your back so that it is straight and take in a couple of deep breaths.
This will bring your body back to where it was and will give you the posture you had when you started running.
When your back is straight it will also make your hips in the right position, so that your lower back won’t hold tension and will reduce injury. Just make sure that your hips don’t angle forward, which WILL result in injury of your lower back.
Legs/Feet/Ankles Ohh My!
For speed runners your legs will perform differently than endurance runners, which we’ll get into in later chapters. So for the sake of this chapter let’s get down some of the basic techniques that every runner needs; ankles and feet.
To perform proper form in your feet, go by the simple rule of quietness. The quieter your feet hit the ground the better form your feet have. As you run you NEVER want to slap your feet on the ground. You want to gently place your foot so that nothing is heard at all. To achieve this you must first land each stride so that you land on the area of your foot that is between your heel and the middle of your foot, called the cuboid pad. And once you land, you should push off with enough force so that you lift off the ground with your toes.
Make sure you feel your calf muscles tighten and you are using them. Because if you don’t feel the burn in your calf muscles, then you are doing this wrong. You should also point your feet at a slight angle every time you land to avoid injury in your knees or ankles.