Running is an important component in almost every sport.  Whether it be for training purposes or actual performance, knowing how to run effectively and correctly is key to reducing the risk of injury, achieving maximal performance, and fun!  When I first started running for exercise in high school, I had absolutely the worst form possible.  I ran with my pelvis tilted forward and my shoulders slumped forward.  It was like a lazy person’s running form.  And the result…multiple lower back strains and a continual battle with knee pain and shin splints.

When I finally learned to run with proper form and technique, it alleviated all back pain and dramatically improved my speed and performance.  This in turn lead to improved athleticism and an overall better feeling about my capabilities as an athlete and runner.  The video below gives a brief and simple summary of what you should focus on when trying to achieve good running form.  Take a look….

See!  I am not the only one obsessed with posture!  Anyway…Let’s review a couple of the important elements discussed in the video.

Common Running Form Mistakes
-over striding
-heal striking
-bad posture (anterior or posterior pelvic tilt; slumped shoulders, etc)

Simple Elements of Proper Running Form
-moderate strides
-mid-foot strike
neutral posture

An important point to remember is that you will be challenged differently when running on a treadmill as opposed to running on the road.  The treadmill’s moving belt pulls your leg back once you make the foot strike which can cause you to unconsciously adjust your form as you fatigue.  Fatigue related changes in stride can also happen when running outdoors but the risk isn’t as great because there is no moving belt.  To avoid injury, stay mentally in tune with your form especially when you start to fatigue.  Be aware of your environment (treadmill vs road) and if necessary make adjustments to correct form.

Another point to consider is that imbalances in leg strength will affect both the bio mechanics of your stride as well as your stride length.  A sound weight training program that pays attention to hip, knee, and pelvic alignment will benefit both your stride and performance.

For those of you who train with me you may have noticed in the video the expert suggests that you lean forward during your run and shift weight onto the balls of your feet.  While this may seem like a disparity for the way I teach you to lift weights, it is actually completely correct.  The 60-40 heal/toe weight distribution prevents using leverage during weight training.  In contrast, form used during performance oriented activities such as running and sports should include leverage as it gives you to the utmost advantage to perform at your best.  If you would like some tips on how to improve your running stride and develop balanced leg strength, contact me about personal training at jes@jesreynolds.com