Running can be difficult to love 24/7. If your affection for running wanes, one thing that helps bring back the love is perfecting your technique. When out for a run, go through this simple list to check your form. Focusing on your body and how it moves will not only keep you from getting bored, it can also help you avoid injury.
- Land midfoot, not on the heel: Striking the pavement with your heel naturally puts on the brakes, which slows you down and leaves you prone to injury since it's jarring. Not convinced? Read more about heel striking here.
- Keep your ankles relaxed and pick your feet up: Bringing the heel toward the bum to activate the hamstrings is a good thing, rather than pushing the ground away which causes muscles to fatigue more quickly, especially the calf.
- Shorten your stride: It's easier on your knees.
- Lean slightly forward: The lean should start at your ankles, not your waist, since bending in the middle can cause back strain.
To see what you should be doing with your upper body while running, just keep reading.
- Keep your low abs engaged: Feel your deep abs, about two inches below your navel, pulling toward your spine to help keep your pelvis and lumbar spine more stable.
- Make your torso active: Lift your ribcage up and forward to help those above-mentioned low abs engage — they can be lazy. This lifting action helps create support for your torso as your pelvis and legs move you forward.
- Keep your hands relaxed: Imagine you're holding a handful of potato chips in each hand. Make a soft fist, but don't squeeze (and crush your chips!), which creates unnecessary tension all the way up your arms toward your neck and shoulders.
- Swing your arms forward and back: Ditch the arms swinging across the body action; it wastes energy. Your hands shouldn't cross the midline of your body. Also keep your elbows bent to 90 degrees.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and down: A nice, deep exhale will help them fall away from your ears.
- Look straight ahead: Looking down at the ground closes your throat, making it harder to breathe, and isn't breathing already hard enough when running?