Believe it or not, only few month ago I could not run.
Running for few miles (2 or 3, nothing big really) would prevent me from walking normally the next day. I could not take stairs down either as my knees where hurting so much. And that is how several years ago I resigned from running… Until I found out that using the proper running techniques would have a huge impact and let me run ! I learned how to run !
And it works. I can now run for 15 miles (24km), and 10 other miles two days after and again, and again…
To better understand if those techniques are aimed at you, read the post on Advanced Techniques as well !
Here are the best advices I could gather on running techniques, it is 90% on body posture. Lets go through them from feet to head:
- Your feet must land flat on ground. Common mistake and major hurting cause : landing on heel, even with your nicely heel compensated shoes. Here are my tips : At first, this is the main point you should focus on. Second, you may find than to help landing flat you will first point your toes forward (not up).
- Land you feet under your centre of gravity. Don’t overstride !
- Your overall body posture should be straight, with a light (about 5 degree) angle forward from your ankles. My tip : push the ground to the back with your feet instead of jumping forward, this will use different muscles and keep your posture more straight.
- Your knees and legs should always move in parallel plans. Don’t spread your feet on the sides or don’t cross them in your back.
- Your stride should be small. If you want to run faster, increase your step pace not your stride !
- Lower your hips a little. The idea is that you don’t want to jump but move forward and keep your knees bent. Beside that your body should be straight and erected.
- Keep core strength and global coherence with your abdominals. Don’t bend your body at your waist, don’t twist your body on each step. Don’t swing hips too much.
- Your arms should always move on parallel plans, like your legs. The arms should not swing across the body ; that would generate side strengths and twists instead of proper balance and forward move.
- The rhythm is coming from your arms stroke. Adapt the rhythm starting from your arms, it will propagate to your legs. It is easier to initiate from members with less inertia.
- Your elbows should remain bent at all time with a 90-110 degree angle. i.e. your hands will move on a circular trajectory instead of moving up and down. When tired most people keep their hand close to their chest with a 30 degree angle at their elbow – Don’t ! Instead, use a 110 or larger angle, this is using much less energy and still does effectively its balancing task.
- Relax your hands, keeping them slightly open, without putting any strength in them. Don’t waste energy in your hands, you will not go any faster nor further.
- Keep your shoulders aligned with your hips and your ankles i.e. don’t lean forward with your shoulders.
- Relax your face. Similar to your hands, that is not a place you want to waste energy on. If you really can’t let your face go, put a smile on it You’ll get the psychological benefits
- Run like if you had a sealing just above your head. Don’t jump ! Move forward ! You will save so much energy
How do I know if I’m doing it well ?
If you apply all those techniques, your steps will be pretty silent ! If you make noise, you are missing something, you have a strong impact !
Applying the techniques
That is 14 points, a lot to think about, all at the same time. My advice is to start by focusing on one point at a time on short distances – starting with point 1 is a good idea ;-). You may also focus from point to point every mile. As you get tired, you tend to forget about the technique ; especially if you are a very new runner, stop running before you stop working on your technique. Last suggestion, when fresh, on the first meters you may be happy to jump and to overstride ; instead, start working on technique immediately.
Below are the best videos I found illustrating some of those running techniques principles:
In this video, no talking yet most points covered clearly.
Longer explanations on the most important points :