Good Running Technique for Efficiency, Faster Running and Injury Prevention
by Ralph Teller
Running offers so much more than a better muscle tone and a longer and more energetic life. For many, body and soul tune into this invigorating activity. Running can be a great adventure from the routine and an opportunity to escape or clear one's mind. So what are you waiting for? The sooner you get started the better! Here are some good tips to help you develop an ideal running style to help you run more efficiently, run faster and lessens injury risks!
Good Running Technique for more Efficient Running and Injury Prevention
Foot plant is primarily on the balls and mid section of the foot reducing bone impact and breaking forces while strengthening the lower leg tendons, joints and muscles.
Foot strikes the ground a few inches in front of the center of gravity. Note that Overstriding causes excessive braking.
The key is pushing into the ground and exerting a lot of energy off the ground with the shortest amount of ground contact time. The fastest runners spend the least time with their foot on the ground. The objective is to maximize force into the ground, but get off quickly.
Drive off ground with your toes.
Maximize stride length by using the hip flexors to lift the knee up and forward.
Keep head upright and looking straight ahead.
Shoulders and upper body are kept totally relaxed to conserve energy and provide balance. Keep shoulders down and back.
Develop a strong core. Building a strong core is key for many sports and activities.
Elbow retains close to a 90 angle and never comes further forward than the abdominal area.
Arms never cross mid section to avoid unnecessary side to side motion.
Do not tightly clench fist. This conserves energy and lessens tension.
Keep the swing leg near parallel to the ground and avoid reaching too high to the buttock.
Keep the back and body’s mid section erect.
Keep the entire body in line from the ankles to the ears.
Maintain a slight lean forward through the entire body to provide momentum and conserve energy. This slight tilt should start at the ankles and not at the hips.
Two Excellent Videos on Running Technique
Good Hydration is essential to maintain peak performance for very active individuals and competitive athletes, especially Runners. However, reliance on water alone for hydration, or excess water consumption, can have the effect of flushing needed vitamins and minerals from the body. The more active one is the greater one’s hydration needs. Hydration is important for runner particularly when running long distances. Hydration is equally as important during cold weather as it is in hot, dry or humid weather. In cold weather, dehydration can cause hypothermia very quickly. Drinking plenty of fluids during cold weather is essential to maintain core body temperatures.
When running in hot weather, the combination of the external heat and the internal heat produced from running, heat within the body can build causing Hyperthermia which is having a core body temperature that is too high. Maintaining good hydration can reduce the onset of Hyperthermia as good hydration enhances sweating which acts to cool core body temperatures.
In very humid weather, our sweat doesn’t evaporate as very well and we tend to sweat more with less cooling effect thereby loosing needed fluids to maintain good performance. When lost fluids are not replaced our body begins to shut down starting with heat cramps and muscle cramps due to lack of electrolytes. Fatigue will begin to increase when fluids are not replaced and under extreme lack of fluid replacement heat exhaustion or stroke can occur.
It is recommend we drink between 14 and 27 ounces of fluid each hour running. It is also recommended to maintain best performance that fluids contain electrolytes, carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Interestingly, Nonfat Milk contains a natural mix of electrolytes (Yes, milk is high in Potassium!), carbohydrates and protein and is a good source of Hydration when the weather is cooler or in early morning rides.
The United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Deutschland have excellent Track & Field organizations.