How To Perfect Your Running Form
To achieve your best race results, you’ve got to run efficiently. How? Your body needs to be relaxed with good form. More than anything else, practicing good running form will carry you to the finish line safely and enjoyably–whether you’re doing a 5k or 100 miles (though, if you’re still running at Mile 100, then any form is good!).
The adage, “Listen to your body” is an important rule for maintaining good form.
Shorten your stride: When we maintain good body position—head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over the mid-foot upon landing, and arms swinging directly ahead—we run with good form and use less energy to run faster. If your arms, shoulders, or back hurt or feel tense during training, you need a form adjustment. One way to do this? Try to quicken your feet and shorten your stride.
Stay strong: Good body alignment requires keeping the center of body mass (CBM) over the leg that’s making contact with the ground (foot-strike). Having strong gluteals (hip stabilizers) is very important as each foot balances the body at impact. Instability or muscle weakness can result in wasted energy and contribute to injury.
It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger: Once you’ve conquered good running form, it’s much easier to pile on the miles. Your aerobic capacity and body mechanics will be much more efficient. I can’t say that running will feel easy. However, the time will go by faster. After all, your body will be more comfortable and you’ll enjoy the process much more.
The takeaway: Always listen to your body. There will be bad, good, and great training days. Remember, time on your feet is another mile of pounding on the body. Before you know it, that 5k you once struggled through will feel like a warm-up, and you will soon find yourself toed up at the start of a 50k. Have fun and enjoy the ride!
-Brandi Bolli-Humphrey, Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team Member and Ultra-Runner Extraordinaire
Have a running question? Are you wondering about the best way to train for your next race? Send us your question in the comments section below or ask us on Facebook!