Your running form can make a big difference when it comes to the effectiveness of your workouts and your speed as a runner. Improving your running form makes your workouts more effective and can improve your speed without increasing the amount of effort required. Here are some tips to help you improve your running form today.
1) Stretch before You Run
A disciplined stretch routine is a must for any athlete, or for anyone working out for fun or weight loss. Spend about ten minutes warming up your muscles with a gentle jog, then spend another ten minutes stretching your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes. Stretch your back and shoulders to help improve your posture while running; good posture is important for runners. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
2) Mind Your Posture
Good posture allows you to remain relaxed during the run, using only the muscles you need to use and therefore expending your energy to the best advantage.
Keep your back straight and look straight ahead while running. If you need to turn your head, use your neck to avoid straining your back or throwing your hips off balance. The only time you should lean into the run is when you're running up or downhill.
3) Stay Relaxed
Keep your upper body relaxed while you run. Your hands should remain unclenched, with the fingers loosely curled. Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your arms to swing back and forth in rhythm with your legs. Tight shoulders, arms and hands will cause upper body pain during your run.
4) Use a Heel-to-Toe Step
You foot should ideally contact the ground at the heel, and roll gently forward toward the toe as you run. Land softly, keeping your foot directly below your hip. Push off into the next step from the ball of your foot for maximum forward momentum. Keep your feet straight. Make sure your toes aren't pointing inward or outward when you run, but straight ahead.
5) Remember to Breathe
Breathe deeply and rhythmically to ensure adequate oxygenation of your blood, which can give you more energy and make your muscles stronger. Inhale through your nose; this allows the air you breathe to reach an appropriate temperature before it enters your lungs. Exhale through your mouth to help release tension from the upper body.
6) Pace Yourself
Run at a comfortable, steady pace that's right for you. You should be able to carry on a conversation while running, so if you find yourself out of breath, slow down. If you're alone, sing softly to yourself to help regulate your pace.
Keep your strides even and short. Long strides might make you run faster, but ultimately they'll overstretch your muscles and make you weaker. If you feel any pain or begin to get fatigued, slow down or stop for a rest.
7) Cool down
Walk or jog slowly for ten minutes at the end of your run to help your heart and respiratory rate return to normal. Don't forget to stretch your muscles after your run.