Form Fixes For Beginners
Everyone runs differently based on their own, unique body type. Your body type can be advantageous in your running, or it can inhibit you. Either way, running without paying any attention to correct form will limit your chances of reaching your greatest potential. Understanding correct form and working to implement it into your own unique style is key on improving. Here are some of CoachUp's most important aspects to work on in terms of form as you move forward.
Correct Your Posture
A tall upper-body posture will improve your running efficiency and help you breathe correctly. It's important to keep your chest open and your shoulders pulled back. Avoid the temptation to lead with your shoulders. Instead, keep your pelvis forward. It should be the first part of your body to cross the finish line. "Clawing at the ground" is what propels you forward, not driving back as if starting from a sprint. To ensure tall posture, strengthen your body. Specifically focus on your glutes, lower back, shoulders, lats, and traps. Also, practice form running drills in front of a mirror so you can see what it feels like to be in proper running position.
Lower-body mechanics take more effort to correct, but the effort pays dividends. You want to work on not over-striding. This form error occurs when your foot lands too far in front your hips, often preceded by a heel strike. It causes a motion that slows you down and can result in joint injury over time. Instead, make contact with either your mid-foot or the ball of your foot just slightly ahead of your hips. It will keep you lighter on your feet and eliminate stress on the joints.
Increase Your Stride Rate
Focus on foot turnover speed rather than long strides. As you flex your knee behind you, flex your hip to bring your trailing ankle to your front knee before taking your next stride. Your feet will turn over faster and you will maintain a balanced center of gravity.
Strengthen Your Core
Core strength is critical for proper running form. It minimizes unnecessary movements and keeps you stable, which improves running efficiency. It also helps you maintain your form over a long duration, so fatigue doesn't cause you to slow down. Improve your running core strength with stability exercises such as planks and side planks. You can find our full article about core strengthening here and our all-out training guide on it here.
Focusing on correct running form early on will be beneficial for you as a runner in the long term. Perfecting your technique will act as a sturdy base from which you can steadily improve with no setbacks. Of course, everybody's body is different, but having the best form you possibly can as an individual runner will help you reach your maximum potential. So, if you feel like something might be off with your technique or could use some constructive criticism, book one of CoachUp's private trainers to help you out along the way. What are you waiting for?