This may sound like an obvious question but is the answer really just as obvious? You can read on through pages and pages, scroll websites and blogs to find information about training techniques, stretching and conditioning to strengthen your running. All of these factors are important, but when it comes down to it, do you really know how to run correctly?
Would you be surprised if I told you that there is actual technique to running the right way and it requires great skill to keep it going throughout your runs. This is new information to me as well, I enjoy my runs but I have to admit I am a bit of a Phoebe from friends when it come to my technique, scrappy and inconsistent. I have recently discovered that my arms, legs, feet, posture are all wrong. After months of falling into bad habits I have now identified my problem and I am intimately focussing on correcting myself to enhance my performance and prevent myself from doing some serious damage to my skeleton in many years to come.
I noticed that I was not running correctly when I went out on a lunchtime run with a few of the guys from Mens Running magazine. We were moving at a consistent pace of 8.17 and I found myself at the back of the line, just about keeping up with the men. Ahead of me was as our managing editor who is a brilliant runner, very speedy and very knowledgable about running. He completed the Virgin Money London Marathon in 3hrs, If that’s not something to aspire to then what is! As he was running ahead of me, my attention was caught by his posture and movement. His back was vertically straight, elbows bent and tucked in above his hips and his legs bouncing off the ground one after the other. I remember it fondly because it reminded me of a high breed champion horse trotting down the street, barrel chested and head pulled back.
I was definitly not a barrel chested champion, more like a traipsing farm cow. I was hunched over, trainers slapping against the concrete and elbows swinging out like a hazard. Not as majestic as I had anticipated in the past. Desperate to master this technique, I resorted to research from text book; there was no way in hell I was going to ask the managing editor why he runs like a horse!
‘The Art of Running’ by Julian Goater and Don Melvin is a great book I am reading at the moment and it is very resourceful when it comes to understanding technique. The key to a successful run is your posture and the way you control your body which results in a professional outcome. ‘You want to run tall with your hips forward and your feet springy, that will keep your cadence brisk and allow you to use gravity rather than fight it’. (Pg46) This describes exactly what I saw on my run.
I read on to discover that technique is key to running further and faster. The point is to move effectively, making the best use of your energy, so no more flappy elbows and slapping feet. Elbows need to be tucked in and used for forward jabs to slice through the air and your legs need to reflect short, quick strides. Like trotting, reach forward with your knees and pull your chest back, keeping your head straight and still. This will make you feel tall, relaxed and balanced, perfect!
A good exercise to try is running on the spot, your body is holding itself vertical and your arms are held in, your technique is instantly there! All you need to do now is make that running on the spot motion into an outdoor run. Just be aware of what you are doing and what you are trying to do. Practise and improve your technique on every run, and when it does get better you will run faster and with less risk of injury.
Olivia Neo x