Running is thought to be a simple exercise. You go out and put one foot in front of the other and the more rapidly you do it the faster you’ll go. That is exactly what running is but how to run efficiently and with minimal injury is another story. Just simply putting one foot down and then the next is not the best way to run. If you looked at most, if not all, the Olympic runners you will see that they all have very similar form. They are running upright with a semi forward lean and they are not over extending their legs. Their feet land under their body and they seem to glide across the ground. There are numerous names for the techniques that people use; there is the Pose method, Chi method, Evolution method and Good Form Running. They all have the same basic concepts with very few minor variations.
The first thing that needs work when learning how to run better is your posture. The different forms give slightly different variations on posture. For the purpose of this article we aren’t going to give the method used just the form that can be used. A good running posture is one that is upright and with your shoulders back. This is to allow your lungs to fully inflate with each breath. The get a good posture simply raise your hands above your head and take a deep breath. Now slowly lower your arms to your sides and keep the chest up and shoulders back. This is something that can be done before you run and every so often while you are running.
The next step in running properly and with good running form is a good forward lean. Now a forward lean is something that isn’t really natural while you are running. A lot of people that run actually have a reverse lean and that slows you down significantly. The forward lean should come from the ankles because if you remember we have our good upright posture. The back and hips should be straight while you lean. This will cause you to have a slight fall which is using gravity to propel you forward instead of your legs. All your legs are doing is stopping you form hitting the ground.
The third part about running properly is cadence. Cadence is how many times you feet hit the ground. In the military they count cadence every time the left foot hits the ground. The cadence that is said to be the most effective is 18 steps per minute or 90 steps per foot. This may seem quick at first and if you are not at 180/min don’t worry just slowly work your way up to 180/min over time. Play 180bpm mp3
The final step on how to run properly is foot strike. This is where a lot of the methods differ. Some say forefoot, some say mid-foot but all agree that a heal strike is bad. A heal strike is obviously when your heal strikes the ground first, this slows you slightly. A forefoot and mid-foot strike when combined with a 180/min cadence will cause you foot to land under your hips and therefore not slowing you down. This is where the Olympians get that glide look while they are running.
To recap about running form and how to run properly there are four main techniques that everyone agrees helps to run better. Posture, forward lean, cadence and foot strike are the four main elements to running form. So if you want to be healthy and stay injury free then changing to a less impactful running form is for you. How to run properly is very hard and can take a long time to transition to so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time or the tenth time just think about how to run with the proper form and practice.
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