6 Proven Tips To Fix Your Running Technique
Here are my top tips and tools to help you improve your running technique as we head into running session. These tips and tools helped me out a lot through my marathon training and they are the one’s I feel are going to give you more bang for your buck and get you results fast.
1) Correct Posture
One problem I have experienced and see regularly is the loss of good posture, slumping or bending at the hips during a run. Maintaining good posture during your run is key to minimising the effects of fatigue and reduces the amount of work you have to do to move your body forward. As soon as you start to slump or bend at the hip you have to work harder to move forward.
A great way to fix this is to imagine there is a piece of string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling that piece of string up so as to make you stand tall and lengthen your spine. This will help you to be lighter on your feet, make you more efficient and will reduce the amount of energy you use. Another good tool to use to fix this problem is to have an interval timer on your watch or phone set to beep every 1 or 2 minutes reminding you to reset your posture and lengthen your spine.
2) Run Light
Go for a run and try and run making as little noise as possible. If you can hear your feet pounding on the ground when you are running then this is a very good indicator that you are placing a lot of load onto your feet. If the feet are getting heavily loaded then so are your joints, ligaments and musculature. So next time your out for a run bring out your inner ninja and run light and relaxed on your feet so we can barely hear you. Your body will thank you for it!
A good tool for addressing this problem is to try running with no shoes on.
3) Mid-Foot Contact
Contact the ground mid-foot first and avoid a heel strike. The heel is not designed to absorb load so don’t land on it. A good way to understand why we don’t want to do this is to go for a run without any shoes on. You will find that the body will naturally avoid a heel strike because it hurts. It will instantly default to a mid-foot strike. You can use this method for retraining your technique by switching between shoes and no shoes. The gym floor is idea for this or you could use any indoor sporting surface to practise.
4) Increase Your Cadence
Cadence target should be around 180 strikes/min. This is the amount of times your feet should hit the ground in a minute (90 times each foot). This is a much higher cadence than what the majority of the population run at. I used this method when I first started training for a marathon and have since used this training tool on many clients with amazing results in a short period of time. Running at this cadence reduces the load placed on joints, reduces over striding, virtually eliminates heel striking and makes the run feel light and effortless. It is hard to maintain this cadence for long periods initially and is something that needs to be built up over time.
5) Run With A Metronome
A metronome is used mainly by musicians and is a device that can be set to produce a predetermined number, beats or clicks per minute. You can purchase a Metronome app for your smartphone and play it in your ears next time you go for a training run. All you need to do is set the beats/clicks per minute at 180 and try to match that with your own running cadence. It is hard at first and I only recommend doing it over short distances in an interval style of training until you feel more comfortable with doing longer distances.
This one of my favourite tools for improving running technique and is the one tool/tip out of all that are listed here that will get you results the fastest.
6) Lean And Use Gravity
When running we want to lean forward from the ankles and pull our foot from the ground to generate momentum forward. Our goal is to lean forward without bending or flexing at the waist and maintain a tall posture so we can utilise gravity to improve efficiency. As soon as we bend or flex at the hip we instantly make the run harder and less efficient because we lose our midline stability and intern are forced to push from the ground with our feet rather than pull our feet from the ground.
I find the best tool for this is to grab a skipping rope and skip as if you are running on the spot. The goal is to pull the heel in a straight line towards the butt on both feet whilst remaining on the spot. Once you have mastered this you can practice leaning by moving the hip slightly forward of the ankle to move forward and start moving as you skip. This type of skipping is also ideal for reinforcing ideal running mechanics.
Give all of these a go and remember that running is a skill and good technique is something that needs to be constantly practised to yield results. Good luck and I hope this article has helped make you a better runner.
2015 09 03