For the past 12 years, I have dissected and modified hundreds of shoes, taught running form clinics around the country, opened a minimalist store in my home town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, directed races from 5K fun runs to marathons , got local children excited about running, and most importantly listened with all my senses —starting with my bare soles. Unless runners understand the important principles of the gait cycle, or running movement, it can be difficult to know how to make the personal and go-it-slow, gradual adaptation to natural running.
Natural Running Form
Still, it bears mentioning: natural running is not a brand or specific method, but rather what humans have done for millions of years. There is no perfect way to run and science will never give us all the answers. The beauty of running is in the play and art of the movement. Although this information might appear technical in a few places, it can be easily learned for all runners. Use this section together with the Drills and Mobility and Stability as you progess.
The role of the arms and upper body in running is often underestimated. Proper arm swing creates the impulse for the legs to move forward more effortlessly and rhythmically. Often you will see runners with their arms hanging by their sides, especially when they get tired:. Keeping your arms straight or crossing them in front of you makes running harder. Try running with your arms straight. Good arm swing requires keeping your arms active with bent elbows and a relaxed fist:.
Running and walking patterns are not the same. When you walk, you lead the step with your lower leg and foot, making ground contact with the heel first and keeping your knee more or less extended. If you do that in running you are most likely to end up overstriding.
8 Tips for Proper Running Form
Overstriding means striking the ground with your foot way out in front of your knee:. It slows you down instead of propelling you efficiently forward.
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Running motion should start with the knee driving forward. It is more similar to the movement you make when you are stepping over something, rather than walking on a flat surface:. Before you start overthinking your running form, remember this:.
Changing your running style can be frustrating. The best way to approach it is to choose a point that interests you and focus on it. Add some running drills to your training for better form — this will help change your running form unconsciously. You can find all of the important points summarized in the graphic below:.
Here’s What Proper Running Form Actually Is and How Much You Should Care About It | SELF
Experimenting with your running form is just one of the ways that can help you enjoy running more, even if you think you hate it , as long as your expectations are not too high. Thanks for your good rating — we are happy that you like this article.
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