How to Run Properly

Running is a very basic skill, but it can become much harder than it has to be if your technique is not on point. It’s true that although many of us feel comfortable running, this skill doesn’t come naturally to everyone. 

Being confident, comfortable, and energetic in your running posture is a very important determinant of your success as an athlete. In this article, we’re going to revisit the basics of running and help everyone get onboard with the right technique and running form. 

A poor running gait is quite obvious, and it is very easy to see what’s going wrong. What’s harder is to understand how to correct it by taking inspiration from good runners whose movements aren’t very clear and easy to decipher. 

That’s why this article includes a step-by-step breakdown of the correct running movements and guidelines on how you can incorporate them into your own running technique. 

Standing Correctly

Your standing posture eventually decides your running posture. Although running is a fluid movement, keeping yourself upright is important to maintain it properly. So, remember to hold your head up high and your shoulders relaxed and open.

Don’t bunch up your shoulders around your ears, that can create unnecessary tension in your muscles and cause stiffness or worse, injury. The next thing to remember is to keep your tummy tucked in, and your hips facing forward. 

Here’s a tip that can help you do all of this without getting distracted from the actual race or thinking too much about your posture. Imagine a line going through your body from your feet, through your ankles, knees and up through your hips, shoulders, and down across your ears. 

Landing on the Midfoot

There are some parts of your body that you need to focus on, as a runner. When you’re walking, it is fine to let your heels strike the ground before the rest of the foot because there’s not a lot of pressure on your legs. 

However, during running, that can send extra force up your leg and through your joints, causing discomfort or injury. You can make sure that you’re safe from that by bending your knees softly. Make sure that your knees are not fully extended when your foot lands on the ground. 

Landing on your midfoot and making sure that your feet land straight under your body instead of landing heel-first helps you reduce the resulting shock waves through your joints. This endeavour will also improve your body’s overall posture. 

Jogging on the Spot

Try jogging on the spot hy bringing your knees halfway up to the hip height at first. Focus on landing on your midfoot but keep the contact time with the ground really short. Once you have mastered this, try bringing your knees further up to full hip height. 

That way, your hips will be at the angle of 90 degrees with your knees in front of you. Try to do this for 10-15 seconds. If you’re doing it properly, it will be a tough exercise to maintain.

Activating the Glutes

Activate your glutes with some buck kicks. Put your hands behind your bottom and start off by flicking your heels upwards to your hands. Do it halfway in the start and focus on maintaining a good, upright posture. Avoid leaning forward. 

Slowly progress to touching your heels with your hands which are fixed behind your bottom. Make sure that you accomplish this while staying upright. When you have mastered this as well, you can try jogging back and forth for about 15-20 meters like this.

Pelvic Movements

Most running coaches suggest running “tall” with your shoulders back. You would unconsciously hold your tummy tucked in to maintain this position. But without focusing on looking good while running “tall,” try to focus on the rotation of your hips. 

Tucking your tummy in will rotate your tummy slightly posteriorly. Bringing your hips towards your chest is actually going to make it easier for you to lift your knees while running, so try not to focus on tucking your tummy in.

Considering what’s going on at the back of your body, you need to have good extension in your leg as your body moves over your foot. If that’s restricted, your stride length will be reduced. So, make sure that your glutes are working efficiently without being too tense.

Relax your Shoulders

Keep your shoulders relaxed and hold them open. Avoid bunching them up around your ears and restricting your ribcage as well as your arms. Any movement at your shoulders should result from your arms moving forward and not your shoulders restricting them.

Your movement should be diagonal from the forward and backward motion of your arm to your opposite shoulder and from your arm to your hip. Keep your movements connected through your torso, and keep your shoulders relaxed throughout. 

Moving your Arms and Hands

Maintain a gentle bend at your elbow with your hands also relaxed. They can be held in a loose fist, but avoid clenching your fists tightly and increasing the tension. Don’t hold your arms too close to your torso as that can restrict your leg movement. 

You can practice this arm movement while standing still in front of a mirror to get it right. You can then also start jogging on the spot to make sure that you can maintain it without having to think about it. 

Keep your Head up

Keeping your head in line with the rest of the body is very important in preventing any resistance to your movement because it is a heavy structure and it can have a serious effect on your running. You’ll also find it harder to lift your knees up with your head down.

Practice Breathing

You really need to focus on your breathing, because it seems simple but it can get complicated while you’re running. Your lungs need all the oxygen that they can get, so breathe both from your nose and mouth. 

You can practice this by holding your hand on your belly and noticing its upward and downward breathing movements. Start by lying down and then move on to standing up and jogging in place.

Warmup and Workout 

Make sure to strengthen your muscles by a regular workout routine especially for your glutes, because they guide most of your movement while you’re running. Also, never skip the warmup before you start running. You can also start with a slow jog to warm up. 

Lastly, buy a new and more comfortable pair of trainers if you feel the need to do so while trying to adapt to this new posture. 

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