Running is more than lacing up your shoes and putting one foot in front of the other.
It requires good running form to excel in performance. Learning how to run with good form also is less taxing on your energy levels, which is always nice to have an abundance of.
Canadian elite obstacle racer and coach, Allison Tai, who has been on the podium over 50 times, shared her expert tips in a recent email interview on proper running form.
Her advice is especially beneficial for beginners looking to run efficiently right out of the gate.
For those veterans with a few thousand kilometers on their personal odometers, sometimes a tweak on your form can help smash through barriers you might never have thought possible. Check out Allison’s four tips below to improve your running performance.
- Overall Body Position
Gravity seems like such a bother when you’re trying to max out on your pull-up reps or jump to new heights.
But as a runner, you can use gravity to your advantage, especially if your 2021 goals include running faster.
The kicker is that the lean has got to be from your ankles… like a ski jumper. Most people break at the hips and sit.
No matter how svelte your running booty is, you end up leaving your mass behind you if you break at the hips, totally negating the whole point of the lean – and deactivating your glutes while you’re at it.
Instead, bring your hips forward like you’re being pulled by a hip belt by a motorcycle.
Above all, your turnover should be light and quick. Great runners have a lovely, flow-y circular stride that harnesses the elastic potential of the tendons of the human body and the physics of a circle.
You can pair the visualization of light, quick, circular turnover with that of the lean by picturing yourself on a unicycle… and as a bonus, have a good laugh at yourself.
Your arm swing mimics your legs, light and rhythmic. Your arms should swing more or less forward to backward as if they are in a track (never crossing over the mid-line of your body). Elbows should stay bent at about 90 degrees.
Hands should move from nips to hips with fingers slightly closed but not clamped – as if you’re holding onto two baby birds (riding a unicycle being dragged along by a motorcycle right – you’re still with me?)
- Head, Neck and Shoulders
One of the most common faults I see – especially with runners trying to improve their speed, is looking excessively downward, or looking excessively upward.
It’s most often downward. What people don’t realize is that the rest of their body follows.
They end up hunching over, struggling for air, staring at the ground.
What you want to do is stay tall and loose though your spine like taffy stretching in the sun.
You want to be just as wide in the front of your shoulders as the back of them… leading from your proud but loose chest, heart rate monitor lifted.