July 2019 newsletter.
Source :Text in part from Runnersworld.com, Ashley Mateo. Image from Runtastic.com.
The better your form, the easier running feels — especially when you start to get fatigued. While everyone’s natural mechanics are different, here’s what you should be paying attention to when you run, from your head to your toes.
Your Head. “Be sure to gaze directly in front of you,” says Kelli Fierras, USATF-certified running coach and ASICS Studio trainer. “Don’t tilt your chin up or down, which happens when people get tired,” she adds. “You want to have your ears in line with your shoulders.
Your Shoulders. We spend so much time hunched over at our desks and on our phones, but it’s crucial to open up your shoulders while you run, says Amanda Nurse, an elite marathoner, running coach, and certified yoga instructor in Boston. “You should pull them back, almost like you’re squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades,” she says.
Your Arms. “Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle,” says Nurse. Your palms or fists move from chin to hip. Keep your elbows close to your sides. “If your elbows point outwards, that means your arms are crossing your body, which actually slows you down. Try pointing your thumbs to the ceiling to keep your arms in line or imagining an invisible line that runs down the center of your body—don’t let your hands cross over that line.
Your Hands. Don’t forget to keep your hands relaxed. “I always think about pretending you have a potato chip between your index finger or your middle finger and your thumb so that your hands are really relaxed,” says Nurse “The more you squeeze your hands, the more energy that you’re getting rid of through your hands.
Your Torso. In most forms of fitness, your core—which includes your back—is really where all your power comes from, and it’s also your center of gravity while running. “You always want to keep a tight core while running—it’ll prevent you from going too far forward or too far backwards,” says Fierras.
Your Hips. When you’re running, you want lean slightly into the run versus running completely upright. “That lean should come from the hinge at your hips, not from rolling your shoulders forward,” says Fierras. That means your torso will be slightly forward of your hips.
Your Knees. Your knee should be in line with the middle of your foot so that when your foot strikes the ground, it’s right under your knee. “You really want to focus of keeping that knee directly in front of your hips versus turning in or bowing out, which is very hard for people to train themselves to do,” she says.
Your Legs. The easiest way to think about your lower body is to think about your shin being as close to perpendicular as possible when the foot hits the ground,” Mahon says. “If you land at that 90-degree angle, then you get to use your ankle, your knee joint, and the hip joint all at the same time to both absorb shock and then create energy.”
Your Feet. There’s no right or wrong way for your feet to hit the ground, as long as you’re actually using them to push off (instead of just lifting them). That said, the idea is to aim to hit the road with the ball of your foot, Fierras says. Running on your toes or striking with your heel are both more likely to set you up for injury. If that’s how you run naturally, though, “rather than focusing on changing your stride, talk to an expert about getting into a proper shoe—maybe one with more cushioning—that will help you stay injury-free,” Nurse says.