Running technique is one of the most neglected parts of running training. It is not difficult to improve your running technique, although it is hard to bring into practice. It’s like a bad habits to unlearn, it will take a period of adjustment before you can actually get used to your new way of running but once you do it will not only improve your running performance but it reduces the risk of running injuries as well.
Tip #1: Increase your Running Cadence
When running most of us take about 160-170 steps per minute. To do this test yourself by counting the number of times one of your feet lands in a minute while running and then multiply by two. Typically it will be about 81-83. Elite runners run about 180 steps per minute. So, how do you get to 180 steps per minute like the elites? One thing for sure it will require a lot of practice.
One of the ways to train this is by doing strides, short burst over 60 to 100 metres in which focuses on proper form and quick turnover of the feet. This can be done at the end of your easy runs. Running with a metronome that is set at 90 or 180 Bpm (beeps per minute) and then try to mirror the beat. It will get Frustrating at first, but you will learn to take “lighter steps” it will eventually improve your performance. Just Imagine how much faster you would be if you run an extra 10 to 20 steps of the same stride length each minute!
Tip #2: Land Naturally
Avoid heel-striking and land using your mid-foot. Over recent years experts have been discouraging heel-striking as it is not suitable for the fast pace running, it is also believed that heel-striking is one of the core reasons for the current running injury epidemic. Follow this method, use gravity to push you forward as you are landing.
Thus, if you want to run the fast way, you need to land on your mid-foot. To Practice this you can start running with your bare feet on grass or sand. Investing on a minimalist pair of shoe will also help to train yourself to run and land on your mid foot.
In order to run properly, you need to have excellent core stability. While running, in order for any force to be transmitted from one leg to the other your pelvis must remain horizontal and rigid. By doing so, the core will be responsible for keeping the pelvis in position. This horizontal position is essential for efficient force to be distributed. You can maintain core stability by just paying attention and concentrating on good posture. This is important whether you are standing, sitting or active. Apart from your running program you may want to spend some time doing cross-training like Pilates, Rock climbing or Brazilian Jiujitsu to strengthen your core. Swimming is also an excellent sport that will make your core stronger as well as provide you with some cardio benefits.
Thus, if you are looking to improve your running technique, these recommended tips will get you running in the right direction. Like the saying goes, ” Bad habit dies slow”, changing and adapting to the new technique will take . Don’t expect change to happen overnight. You may even get frustrated. However, over time, as you get a higher running cadence and a stronger core and without you knowing you will be running more effectively and efficiently, which will allow you to go further and get a whole lot faster as well!