Running is an impact sport. Maybe not in the same way that rugby or American football is but the repeated impact of your foot on the ground can leave people injured. Many of these injuries surround how the person was running, their technique. Technique also plays into how well you perform whilst running, how far you can get and how fast (we all want to run fast right?)
One of the biggest elements of running economy is someone’s technique. Most of us learnt to run in the playground as a child, and broadly speaking running is very simple. However, when we increase the amount we run in efficiency in your technique can hold you back in a major way.
What are we looking for?
Firstly I would caveat this article by saying we all are built differently and one technique for a runner may not work for another. We have different limb lengths, flexibilities and joints all of which play into how we most efficiently run. The most efficient way in which you can first and foremost limits your personal risk to injury the most and works for you and not against you. That being said you might have some things to change.
- It’s not all about fore foot striking – some of the best runners in the world fore foot strike so we might think that is the only way to run. It is worth trying but also worth considering your sporting history and if it will actually work for you rather than against you. Give it a go but it is not the be all and end all.
- It's not just about how you land – We have touched on fore foot and heel striking but also consider about where you are landing your foot in relation to your hips. Try bringing your stride back a bit to where it is under your hips to reduce the impact a bit on your knees. If you are a longer distance runner especially this could help reduce knee pain.
- Tighten your core – It’s not just legs we are working. By tightening your core a bit you should start to stack your whole body a little more straight.
- Treat running like a skill – as stated earlier most of us have run in some form for most of our lives. Due to this, a lot of us don’t consider it a skill that needs to be honed and worked on. I promise you those people who are better runners than you have more respect for running technique and are running with much greater efficiency than you.
- Get some help – Get a coach, join a running club, run with friends. Get critiqued by people who are better runners than you and take their advice. Don’t be too proud to ask for some help, the running community are notoriously friendly and to be honest love talking about running (a little too much sometimes).
Some other smaller pieces of advice
- Go and get the right shoes for you. Don’t just get the latest and greatest shoe that all the athletes are wearing, don’t get the shoes that your friend is convinced made him runner 10% faster. Go to a local running shop that has proper gait analysis equipment and support their business. Your body will thank you for it.
- Don’t let this stop you from running. Yes running is a skill you need to practice BUT it is a journey not a destination, even the greatest of runners have room for improvement.