Today, girls and boys we are going to improve your running form is just 3 simple steps.
Raise Your Gaze
The next time you go on a run focus your gaze on a spot about 5, even 10 feet in front of you. This simple trick will force you to lift your head up slightly. When you do this, drop your shoulders (they should not be hunched around your ears) and pull your belly button in a bit. This simple tweak will prevent your upper body collapsing and keep your shoulders from rounding forward. I promise if you practice this trick you will feel more confident and better about your run.
Arm your Arms
I see a lot of runners that rarely use their arms or don’t use them at all. There’s a runner in my neighborhood that keeps her elbows bent and tucked right under her armpits and her arms do not move.
Drives. Me. Crazy.
Your arm speed dictates your foot turnover, it helps power you up a hill, it pull you forward in a sprint and on a long run it provides momentum forward. If you don’t use your arms you are missing out on an important component of locomotion.
- Hills: Your arms should be pumping as you shorten your stride. You pitter-patter up the hill with less effort.
- Long runs: Elbows bent and they should come back nice and far behind you. To do this focus on getting your hands to hit right below your ribcage.
- Sprints or Track workouts: Think reaching in front of you grabbing air and pulling back. This motion will pull you forward.
- General: Keeping your arms pumping will dictate your foot speed. If you stop moving your arms your speed with suffer. Focus on pumping your arms in a consistent rhythm and watch your times drop.
Pick. Up. Your. Feet. Don’t shuffle, drag or scuff your shoes along the road or trail. Think lean and lift.
Chi Running is a great resource for this technique but here’s the quick and dirty. Lean slightly forward from your ankles to start and let your forefoot touch the ground and quickly snatch it back up – pull your heels back behind you. Opposite foot lands, quickly snatch it back up. Repeat.
You should not fall heavily to the ground, nor should you land completely flat on your feet. Think landing on the front 2/3 of your foot. It’s a lighter and quick landing.
The next time you head out for a run, try one or more of these techniques. I think you’ll be happy with your results.
Now go run!