Tips to Help Improve Your Running Technique
How is it possible to improve your running technique? Because running has been around since the dawn of time, it may seem silly to talk about running as something that might be improved. Running was man’s first form of exercise and, maybe surprisingly, it remains the most popular. Running is scientifically proven to have health benefits that extend well beyond any medicine, supplement, or food you could consume. Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and reduce the chance of stroke, cancers, and other illnesses. Running increases bone mass, thus strengthening the knees and other joints and bones. Running can have a positive impact on your emotional health. It’s shown to make people happier, calmer, and mentally sharper, in addition to adding years to the average lifespan.
Those who enjoy running are well advised to continue their activities. Running is a lifelong sport that can always be enjoyed. Of course, in order to continue receiving benefits from running, one must always strive to improve their own ability and technique. For running enthusiasts out there, we’ve put together a few basic tips to improve your running experience.
Don’t Land on Your Heels
One of the first things that will improve your running technique is to try to avoid striking the ground, especially if it’s pavement, with your heels. Running heels first is not only poor technique, but it slows you down and leaves you open to injury and back and knee pain. Instead, try to land on the midsole of your foot. This allows your muscles to adjust to the landing better, reducing the jostling effects of running on joints and bones.
Use a Shorter Stride
Less motion equals less wear and tear. Plus, shorter strides actually make for more efficient runs, as long “bursting” strides easily accumulate into a waste of energy. Using a shorter stride, in contrast, reduces movement and impact on joints, keeping them healthier longer.
Wear the Right Shoes
This cannot be over-stressed. A good pair of running shoes, as much as any other aspect, is key to improve your running technique. There are hundreds of high quality running shoes on the market today, and shoe sales associates at sports stores are generally qualified enough to assist you in finding the best possible shoes for your feet. Get something that offers basic support but isn’t over-cushioned. Cushioned, heavily-structured running shoes sometimes have an unexpected side-effect; by automatically molding the foot into the running motion, they reduce the use of muscles in the feet, making the feet weaker and unable to run as well.
Running and Foot Strength
Foot strength is key to professional-style, high-level running. If you’re an experienced runner, consider leaving your comfort zone (literally) by working on your foot strength. Buy a pair of bare running shoes, the kind that you can wiggle your toes in, and start incorporating them into your routine. Go one block at a time and work your way up. Soon, you’ll notice your feet hurt much less, spring better, and generally contribute much more to your running efficiency.
Time Your Sessions
Timing your runs is a great way to track improvement. It also gives you a structure for training and allows you to more easily monitor what level you've achieved and what future workouts should look like. Try to improve on covering the same distance in less time. For example, set your timer for 20 minutes and see how much distance you can cover. The next time, try to beat your previous distance. Sometimes competing against yourself can have remarkable effects. Work most of these tips into your routine and improve your running technique one item at a time. You'll definitely enhance your run in addition to your overall strength and health.
If you're a runner and are considering adding a treadmill to your home gym, we've got you covered. Stop by RX Fitness Equipment in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. We're here to help with your fitness goals, whatever they may be. We carry equipment and accessories of all kinds to fit every goal and budget and make your fitness routine more productive, including a variety of items and accessories that are perfect for enhancing your running experience. Come in and let us help you find exactly what you're looking for. Don't forget, you can always find Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, on Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.