I’ve been running the wrong way this entire time!
Lately, I’ve been experiencing shin splints and occasional foot pain after a run or workout. My injuries have become so bothersome they’ve been keeping me from exercising. I finally did a bit of research and basically my form has been completely incorrect!
So here are some tips on how to run the right way!
1. Run Tall
For a long time I’ve been running with a lean forward. For some reason I thought this would propel me farther and faster. However, leaning your head and shoulders forward will actually put a strain on your upper body. It is much better for your body to run standing tall and looking straight forwards, rather than down at the pavement. Imagine your head is being pulled up by a string as you run tall.
2. Strike Your Foot from the MIDDLE Forward
Approximately 75 percent of runners strike from the heel forward. This is wrong! After going through a lot of different articles on how you should land your feet, the majority states that it is safer and more effective to strike from the middle of your foot and roll forwards. This technique will help prevent injuries, especially the dreaded shin splints.
3. Do Not Overstride
Another common mistake in running is trying to increase the length of your stride in order to run a greater distance. The ironic thing is, overstriding will only slow you down and cause more harm to your body. Do not over stretch your stride by placing your foot far out in front of your body. Instead, keep your feet below the knee as you run.
4. Maintain Your Upper Body
It’s easy to forget about your upper body when you run. Yet, your upper body can have just as much as an impact on your run as your legs and feet. Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle. It’s ok to move them slightly (too much will just lead to wasted energy) as you run but make sure it’s forwards and backwards and not from side to side. Don’t clench your hands into fists but, don’t let them hang loose either (which can hurt your wrists). Keep them lightly cupped. And remember! Stand tall! Try to keep your shoulders down, arms bent, and relax those muscles!
5. Run Forwards NOT Side to Side
When you run, you should be moving forward. Seems simple. However, many times as we run we go into this rhythm of swaying left and right with each stride. This is a common improper form for runners. Make sure your body doesn’t sway horizontally as this wastes unnecessary energy and makes it harder to run overall.
6. Stretch and Warm-Up
I am so guilty of this! So often, I just want to go straight into a run. But your body needs to build momentum. Do a few simple stretches before you run and start out with a brisk walk for about five minutes. Don’t forget to stretch after your run to release muscle tension! This will help your muscles relax and avoid all sorts of injuries in the future.
I hope you learned as much as I did about proper running form! Who knew there was so much to learn?!