These tips are on Running Stride, Form & Posture – Improving Stride, Form and Posture can add a lot of value to your running, making you more comfortable, relaxed and giving you an all round easier run.
Don’t expect overnight results. Improving Stride, Form or Posture is a matter of ridding old habits and creating new ones which can take weeks, months and years. Take your time and be patient with your body.
Over striding is a no no. Why? Problem No 1. This causes enormous break forces, reducing the ability of the muscles around the knee to absorb shock, therefore transferring the shock to the knee joint and then hips.
Problem No 2. When over striding you have essentially “jumped” higher and further so not only is the shock going directly to the knee and hips, the shock is also much greater than it needs to be. One way to counter this is to shorten your stride and increase your cadence slightly, adding the fast feet drill to your warm-up routine will help.
Form training is a great tool but it really is just the first step to improving your form and posture and creating new habits. Form training triggers the creation of new habits but practice needs to follow. Once you have done the drills and alerted your brain that there is something new, you have to practice for it to become embedded as a new habit. Set yourself queues for during your runs that remind you of your habit.
Running stride is largely facilitated by elastic energy. Through every part of your gait your muscles are storing elastic energy which is used to assist with the movement into the next phase. So improving form and strengthening eccentric movements will make for easy running.
How you move your arms during your running stride is very important to how economic each stride and your posture is. You may ask why. Your legs do all the work… Don’t they? Your legs do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ but for your stride to be in proper synchronisation your arms need to do the job they are meant to do efficiently. Your arms aid your legs in the running stride, not the other way around, so fixing your arm movements can potentially fix a few stride and posture issues.
Relax! One of the first things that happen when we get tired while racing or training is that we tense up. Teach your body to relax while training. A good way to do this is to start from the top. Relax your face, then your shoulders, then your arms. Relax your hands and don’t make a fist. Also relax your legs and let them flow and let each foot fall be as soft as possible.
Smile! Recent studies have shown that smiling periodically during hard workouts may improve running economy. In the research they found that smiling improved running economy by just a little more than 2%. Smiling while running improves your mood and improves your psychological outlook of your run and, yes, even if you don’t feel like it and force it, this will improve your run and help you to feel better. Remember…. “fake it ’til you make it”
Stretch your quads. Flexible quads make for a more efficient swing phase during the running stride. As your foot leaves the ground after the toe off, momentum swings the lower leg up and shortens the lever of the entire leg, making the swing of the leg much more efficient. The more flexible your quads the shorter the lever. So, stretch those quads and improve your running stride enormously.
Coach Clint is a qualified running coach based in Johannesburg. He trains athletes of all levels from complete beginners to top athletes in disciplines from track athletics to ultra running on road and trail. He is also passionate about Running form & Posture, training the mind, functional and sport conditioning and fitness training. Read more about Coach Clint here