Running More Efficiently
Most runners enjoy the simplicity and accessibility of running as a sport and as a means of exercise. Running requires little specialized skill and offers a host of positive benefits for physical and psychological health. However, many runners jeopardize their running careers by not paying attention to three basic points that help them to run longer and more often. If you think you might be one of those runners, pay attention to the running technique points that follow.
- Watch your feet: Keep your knees aligned directly over your feet at all times to minimize knee strain while running. Running on your toes tends to stress delicate Achilles tendons; a foot-strike that uses more of your foot tends to help you avoid excessive shortening of the Achilles tendons while running and is also kinder to your knees, hips, and lower back. Unless you’re experienced at clambering over rough trails, stick to flat running surfaces for your runs.
- Stride length: The best stride length for you is one that allows you to run smoothly. Many runners make the mistake of over-extending their running strides. While a longer stride is more efficient for speed, it may make inroads into your endurance capacity. Choose a stride length where you can comfortably run about three steps per second and where you can minimize your impact with the running surface as much as possible.
- Straighten your back: Leaning forward slows you down, makes your lower back more vulnerable to injury, and shortens the length of your runs due to discomfort.Your arms need move in a relaxed manner, but that doesn’t mean you should let them flop wildly. Bend your arms at the elbows, keep your shoulders down, and open your hands in a relaxed manner.
Running efficiently allows you to run longer and (usually) faster. It can also help prevent pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. It’s difficult to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of running if you’re too tired or injured to run, so pay attention to your technique to add life to your running and to have running add life to your years