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Whether you go running for fun or as part of your everyday exercise regime, it is important to make sure your running form is to correct, down to a T. This will prevent injury and help you get the best results for your fitness overall. Here is a list of top tips to improve your running technique and make sure it’s perfecto!
A GAIT analysis will help assess the way in which you walk and run. It provides key information and helps runners choose the right type of shoe that optimises performance and reduces the risk of injury. Sports Shoes website provides a free online GAIT analysis test here: https://www.sportsshoes.com/gait-analysis/.
If you don’t have time for this you can determine what kind of runner you are by trying out the wet footprint test. Wet your foot and place your footprint on a tiled surface and see what kind of arch you have, this can determine how much cushioning and comfort you need in your shoes.
Get your posture right
Posture is very important when running. Keep your back straight and shoulders back, with your head central and held high. Sitting down all the time can leave you slumped and this can have a negative impact on how you run. Good posture is the key to injury-free running. Make sure you lean forward slightly by at the ankles, not the waist, this will help your hips move forward and save you energy in the long run as your body stays in alignment.
Jenny Blizzard gave us some more detailed tips on improving your running posture that are worth a read!
Find a good playlist
It is always good to have a playlist to listen to whilst out running. Music can make you feel more focused and ‘in the zone’ allowing you to think about nothing but running. Going for upbeat, high tempo tracks that have positive lyrics will get you motivated. Streaming service apps provide playlists made specifically for certain workouts, make sure you choose the best one for you. Or even better, go and create your own! Boost your own energy levels with the songs you love.
We’ve reviewed a variety of headphones, but the two that have had the best reviews from us are the Groov-e wirless sports earphones with LED neckband and the Jabra Elite Sport true wireless earbuds.
Make sure you’re always testing yourself and pushing yourself to your limits. Vary your running routines and switch them up and you’ll soon see yourself improving both your time and distance.
Run for the hills! While going uphill, shorten your strides and pick up your knees whilst also increasing your stride rate. Keeping your arms moving will help with the incline, the more uphill you go, the bigger your arm motions will need to be.
You could even try running downhill, just try not to lose your footing and roll down instead. If you keep your body at the same angle as the hill, lower your arms and land lightly on the bottom of your foot then you perfect your downhill run.
Jackie Wren, Davina McCall’s PT, gave us a fantastic 4-week workout programme aimed at runners that’s a good place to start. It incorporates jogging, running, strength and ab workouts and hills.
Wearing the best shoes
They say less is more, so wearing shoes that are too comfortable can actually be a disadvantage rather than an advantage when it comes to running. The muscle designed to support the framework in the foot will eventually fail to do its job if your support is coming from an external source. This can make the foot weaker and more likely to be subject to injury. By developing the strength in your foot can help make other parts of your body stronger such as your hips, knees, lower back and ankles.
It is always good to time yourself and keep track of your progress. If you set yourself a certain distance to run then time yourself and see how quickly you can complete it. Over time you’ll build up speed and be able to complete that distance quicker. The more you train the easier your runs will become. You can vary your workouts by either covering the same distance with greater ease or maintaining the same intensity and run further in the same amount of time.
Remember that you’ll have good and bad days; be sure to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard when it’s telling you to take it slow or rest.
Take short strides not long strides
Running with long strides can drain your energy, using a shorter stride will reduce the movement in the joint meaning less wear and tear and will improve efficiency. Less movement in particular joints, such as the ankles, hips and knees will lead up to them having a longer and healthier life. A good way to check how long your stride should be is to stand tall and lean forward, when you feel like you’re going to fall, step forward enough to catch yourself. This will determine the length of your stride.
Getting your breathing right is vital for your running technique, but it’s something that comes perfected with practice. Your breathing will vary depending on the intensity of the exercise and should fit with the overall rhythm that the rest of your body is working to. If you lie on your back with a book on your abdomen you can practice deep abdominal breaths which are ideal for running. As you slowly inhale the book will rise, and vice versa as you exhale.
Build up strength
It’s not just your ankles you want to strengthen, it’s important to incorporate strength training into your workout regime alongside cardio.
Runners will regularly fall victim to muscle weakness, this means there is an imbalance and it creates more work for our bodies when we want it to move. You don’t have to be an expert runner to fall victim to muscle weakness; it just means you are not addressing the imbalances directly. To help strengthen, cause less wear or tear to your body and for a more balanced and stabilised run, you can do exercises such as: lunges, squats, planks, push-ups, clams, the bridge or row with a resistance tube or weight.
If you keep running at a slow and steady pace then your body will get used to it and become lazy, this is when your form will start to fall apart. To stimulate your neuromuscular system you can do weekly speed training which makes for more efficient running. After a warm up it is best to do 4-8 10 second sprints at least 2 times a week. Your form will stay up to speed and you will be the next Mo Farah in no time!