How To Run Properly | Running Technique Explained
Speaker: We were born to run. To some of us though, that statement might feel a little
far from the truth as running doesn't come naturally to all of us. However, it's something
we were never actually taught. Whether you're completely new to running or maybe you're
a runner who's not happy with their gait, today I'm going to be taking it back to basics
and revisiting how to actually run. It's usually fairly obvious to spot a poor running gait and what is going wrong but when it comes to good runners, it's much harder
to see exactly what they are doing. So today, I'm going to be breaking down the movement
patterns of the running gait and explaining exactly how to perform them correctly as well
as giving you some tips to get going. Before we actually start moving, we need to address
how you stand as your posture will carry over onto your running. You might have flashbacks
from school of being told to stand upright. Well obviously, running is a fluid movement
but still, having your head held high and shoulders nice and open, your tummy tucked
in and your hips facing forward is going to help.
You want to picture having a line that dissects your body. It goes up from your feet so through
your ankles, your knees up through your hips dissecting your shoulders and then your ears.
You want to maintain that line when you start running, although you're going to have a slight
forward tilt so the line is basically coming up at a forward angle from the ground.
Let's now address the specific parts of your body and how they should move. We're going
to start off with the feet and the ankles. When you're walking, you land with a heel
strike with your leg out in front of you and your leg nice and straight.
As soon as you start running, the force that's going through your bones and your joints is
greatly increased, so you do want to make sure you've got a slight soft knee so there's
a very slight bend in it and making sure it's not fully extended. As to where your foot
lands on the ground, well that is eternally open to debate and it's something that I suggest
you experiment with yourself. Having a midfoot foot plant actually does help with some shock
absorption and it'll also help encourage you to have a better body position. It goes hand-in-hand
because as you start running and you start to implement that forward tilt we've already
talked about, you'll find it more easy to land with a midfoot strike as well.
Sticking with your feet, you also need to address where your foot lands in relation
to your body and it's really common to see people over striding so basically, landing
on their heel with their foot way out in front. A little bit like the walking action. When
it comes to running, this is pretty much acting like a break so putting your foot down out
in front of you and then having to move your body over it. It's also really jarring on
the body. Ideally, you want your foot to be landing underneath your body whilst it's already
started to move backwards. The good drill to just get awareness of your foot landing
underneath your body is simply running on the spot.
There are a couple of old-school on-the-spot drills which will really help with the points
that we've been covering. First of all, high knees. I expect most of you understand what
I mean by this one but you are simply jogging on the spot. You're going to start off by
just bringing your knees halfway up to hip height and really focusing on landing on your
midfoot and keeping that time on the ground really short. Short contact time and nice
and springy off the ground. Once you've mastered that, then try to bring it up to full hip
height. Basically, you're getting your knees up to 90 degrees or your hips up to a 90-degree
angle. Then take plenty of rest. Just try to do this for 10 to 15 seconds because
if you're doing it well, it will be hard. Then we need to look at the other end of your
running stride so your bottom activation with some butt kicks. You're simply going to place
your hands behind your bottom and you're going to start off by trying to flick your heels
up towards your hands. Just do them halfway to start with and this one, you really need
to focus on keeping a good posture because it's quite easy to start to lean forwards.
As a result, it will be quite easy to naturally land on your midfoot or even your forefoot
and then progress this to actually touching your hands with your heels.
Once you've got these mastered, really concentrate on keeping posture throughout and staying
nice and upright because it is easy to cheat. Obviously, that's going to then not get the
point of the drill. Then finally, once you're ready, you can start to progress this to moving
forward, so covering a distance of say 15 to 20 meters and then just jog back for recovery.
[music] Speaker: A common cue from running coaches
is to hear them say run tall. Well, it acts in the same way as a standing tall, so you
put your shoulders back and you automatically tuck your tummy in. I bet you've done that
without even realizing it. These cues are great for making you look good when you're
standing and running but we're not focusing on that today. We want you to be running more
easily and it will have a knock-on effect because tucking your tummy in is naturally
going to rotate your pelvis slightly posteriorly so basically bringing your hips up towards
your chest. That's going to then make it much easier to lift your knees when you're running.
Your hips are essential for all of your running propulsion. We talked about the front of the
hip so the knee drive coming forwards, but we also need to look at the posterior chain,
so what happens at the back. When you're running, you need to have good extension in your leg
as your body moves over your foot. If that's restricted, then you're going to be restricting
your stride length. You need to make sure you've got strong glutes firing because that's
the powerhouse, your bottom muscles, but also that your hips aren't too tight so that you
can get that full running propulsion from each stride.
Moving up to your shoulders. Ideally, you want these to remain as relaxed as possible
because if they come too tense or bunched up around your ears, then you're going to
find it much harder to breathe but also just restricting your overall movement. Any movement
that comes at the shoulder should be a result of your arms moving forwards, not as a result
of your shoulders actually forcing that movement. Your arms are actually there to help you run
more easily. If you think about the forwards and backwards motion of your arms actually
driving and propelling you forwards, there's actually a diagonal link from the opposite
shoulder and arm through to the opposite hip so connected through your torso. Because of
this, yes, your shoulders are working, but you still need to keep them nice and relaxed.
You want to have a bit of a gentle bend at your elbows so keeping them in close to your
torso. When it comes to your hands, they need to be relaxed as well. You don't want them
super clenched, you don't want them poker straight but just somewhere in the middle
in a relaxed but finger bent. In this relaxed position, you want your arms
to slowly be moving forwards and backwards, keeping them close to your torso. As any movement
that goes across your body, it's just going to be counterproductive and you'll have to
correct that with your legs. You can actually practice this on the spot now. You might sound
silly but if you just stand still and you have your arms and you're just simply going
to pump them forwards and backwards concentrating on keeping your shoulders relaxed. You can
even do it in front of the mirror. Then if you take one foot in front of the other, and
so you're in a partial running stance and practice it again for 10 arm pumps and then
swap onto the other side for another 10. Obviously, when you're actually running, you're not going
to have to physically think about your arms so much because they will move more naturally
with the running gait. To just prove how much your arms do assist your running, I want you
to have a little go at going out for a run and sticking your hands to your thighs so
running with your arms by your side, a little bit like a penguin, and then go back to normal
running and you'll really feel the benefit of what your arms do.
Last but no means least is your head. With it being such a heavy structure, its position
can have a serious knock-on effect on your running. Remember that line I talked about
at the beginning. Your head needs to remain in alignment with the rest of your body because
if it's too far forwards or it's looking down, then you'll find it really hard to lift your
knees up at the front of your running gait. If it's the opposite and you'll find it's
too far back, then it's going to cause you to heel strike and overstride.
Also, too much excessive movement, you really want to try to reduce or keeping it on one
side. Because anything you're doing with your head, your body's just going to have to compensate
and it will end up having to work harder. A good way to get your head in the right position
is instead of thinking about your head, think about your eye line so make sure you're looking
nice and far ahead as that will naturally keep your shoulders back and it will help
you keep your hips up as well. I can't believe I've actually got this far
and not addressed breathing. It is quite hard to have it as a separate section as it's obviously
involved in every movement of running. If you're getting it wrong, then it can have
a negative effect on your run. Yes, it sounds simple. We all know how to breathe and after
all, we have got this far but you might not actually be breathing correctly for your running.
Signs could be having really tense shoulders or seeing tension in your face and your neck.
When you are breathing, you need to utilize your full lung capacity for running. So that
means breathing more than purely from your ribcage.
Let's have a look at where you're at at the moment. For this, you need to just take a
lie down a moment and just breathe normally whilst placing your hand on your belly. If
your hand isn't moving, then that indicates you're only doing shallow breaths so try to
focus on filling all of your lungs with air right to the bottom of them. This will see
your belly move outwards or upwards underneath your hand on the in-breath and then as you
breathe out, your hand should fall away. Just have a feel and get used to doing this whilst
you're lying still and then take it up to standing and again, place your hand on your
belly to get the feel. You might find that as you're doing some simple
breathing exercises before running will help to remind you to stay relaxed but also to
fully utilize that lung capacity. Finding the correct footwear is important when running
especially if you're looking at altering your gait. For this, I would recommend heading
to a specialist running store so they can ensure you've got a shoe that suits your running
style but also fits properly. Then finally, a bit of strengthening. You
need to make sure you've really worked on strengthening your core and the muscles around
your hips as that enables you to keep that good posture we've talked about for far longer
which in turn makes running much easier and makes you more efficient. If you're maybe
having a play around with your gait or changing anything at the moment, do let us know. You
can do that in the comments section below. Check out all of our other social media channels
and whilst you're there, give us a like and a follow.
[00:09:35] [END OF AUDIO]