Running form (Jon Panter)
Improve you movement to improved speed and stamina
It is very easy to put on your trainers and just run, but how often do you think about your movement? Small adjustments in head or arm position can improve how you move and fatigue. You run with your whole body, it is not just your legs or feet.
What should we focus on for our running form? Easy - Posture, Posture, Posture. Sitting for long periods and looking at mobile phones all contribute to bad posture. We have an opportunity to counteract bad habits whilst working from home, you not going to look silly planking in your kitchen or creating a standing working area for your laptop. The simple act of standing with your hands behind your back will pull the shoulders back, open your chest allowing your diaphragm to function and engage your core. When in that position try leaning forward slightly, keeping your body straight and bending from your ankles (not the waist). You should gradually lift onto the ball of your feet – don’t fall over! Visualise this body position when you run. I have provided a YouTube link below, which will explain it better than I have.
The techniques below are basic tips to get you started and will help you maintain a good posture. Developing a strong core is essential, you have plenty of time to get involved with online training. This will build a platform for your legs to drive from and engage your elastic nature. Your body is a big elastic band - it only has power when stretched.
- Don’t have a 42lb Head! Your head weighs 5.5kg (12lb), every inch you lean your head forward will add 4.5kg (10lb) onto its weight. Try holding a pint close to your body, it’s quite ok – now hold it at arm’s length is ok for a while! Now imagine that is your head. Hold your head up, looking forward. Only look down with your eyes, not your head. Focus on your head position as you run, it’s very easy to correct and controls your whole body posture.
- Your arms aren’t passive bystanders! Arms counterweight the movement of your legs to balance your body. When we walk or run we move contralaturally (opposite arm to leg). Think about driving your elbows back as much as hands forward, with your forearms horizontal to the ground and thumbs upwards. As a contrast cross your arms over your chest and run a 100m, that should prove the value of driving your arms as much as your legs.
- Running is not an extension of walking! You may think not lifting your feet up is being efficient, but that is just fast walking. Practice driving up and forward with your knees (as if you are moving in waist deep water) and letting your foot drop to the ground beneath your body, don’t over stride you’re not kicking a ball. You can practice this, by standing still and running on the spot, then gradually lean forward (from your ankles), you should start to move forward.
- Why run with a 180 cadence? This maybe a little contentious, but the majority of runners rotate their legs far too slowly (number of steps per minute = cadence). A good number of steps per minute is 180. If you are lifting your legs higher you can rotate your feet quicker (see above). Think 3 steps per second. As you run count 1, 2, 3. Practice counting too 3 in one second, with a stopwatch (there is one on your phone). This might feel hard work at first but will get easier. If using the cadence on you watch, be careful, as most will record arm movement (watch on your wrist) so gives a lower reading. If you can get it up in to the 170’s you are doing ok.
Try setting time aside to visualise you running and break your body movement down when you run. Warm up and find an area to practice arm and leg techniques. Most people will practice or have lessons for swimming or golf techniques but few focus on running form. You might not have the talent or time to train like an elite athlete, but you can have the running form of one, they practice and improve their running and so can you.
Some of these technique will feel hard to do, as you will be using different muscles or micro-muscles in a different way. But persevere, by putting a little more effort in, you will get a lot more power out. After saying all this, running is the most amazing feeling, enjoy it - these lads are!!
With all this time on our hands, if you need a break from Netflix or Disney+, listen to Ian Corless podcast https://iancorless.org/podcast talking to Shane Benzie (Running reborn) (Episodes 175 (01:11:46) and 176 (2:14:02)). Shanzie is the Mr Miyagi of running movement - really worth a listen and will hopefully change you view on how you move.