SHAPE UP YOUR RUNNING FORM
With Level 3 Coach Ray Camano
April 29, 2022
Temperatures are starting to actually stay above 50 degrees, which means everyone is dusting off their running shoes and hitting the pavement! Coach Ray has a few tips to help prevent injury and make your runs a little more enjoyable.
Can you do 100 calf raises? How many can you do on one leg? “If you think about it, when you’re running you’re putting a lot of pressure on one leg to propel yourself forward,” said Coach Ray. These are just some of the questions Coach Ray may ask you if you mention you want to start adding running into your fitness routine!
When it comes to running, having good form is crucial. “If you don’t use the correct form, it’s not just about the speed, but it will also open the door for injuries,” said Ray.
Good form starts with good posture. “Keeping your center of gravity over your mid-foot is important because running is like falling,” said Ray, “leaning into a fall over and over, working with gravity (hopefully, instead of working against it).” Your muscles will be used in a more effective way if your center of gravity is in check. Here are some ways to make sure that happens during your run:
CHECK YOUR FORM
1. Stand tall
Check yourself - Is your spine in neutral? This means your hips shouldn't be behind you, and if anything you want to feel as if you’re slightly leaning forward. Your momentum will be better, you won't have to work as hard. Remember to keep your ribs “stacked,” making sure not to flare them out.
2. Head Positioning
Keep your chin in neutral. Look out and slightly down - look toward the pavement/middle of the road rather than up at the clouds (tempting as it may be in the summer time). Your head shouldn't tilt back. “When it moves back, it takes you out of that center of gravity,” said Ray.
3. Foot Positioning
When it comes to where your foot should strike when you hit the pavement, this is certainly up for the debate in the running community. “Ideally your midfoot is hitting first, but you should really do what feels best for your body,” said Coach Ray. “No need to force anything when you start training that doesn’t feel right.”
4. Arm + Hand Positioning
“If you’re in the correct spine stack, your arms should automatically be swinging in the right position, more symmetrically,” said Ray. Try to relax your hands, try not to squeeze tightly or create tension in your hands. One tip to try if you’re struggling with this is the Potato Chip Grip - pretend you’re holding a potato chip between your thumb and index finger - this will help keep your hands in a neutral, relaxed position.
STRETCH IT OUT
In addition to maintaining proper form during your run, a good warmup is the other key to injury prevention. Here are a few dynamic stretches you can do as you’re starting your run.
If you’re looking to run faster, it’s all about how high you can lift your knees to your chest and your heels to your butt. This is the stretch that most closely mimics run form, and helps improve the efficiency of your stride while also improving your range of motion.
This is an excellent way to open up your hip flexors, one of your primary drivers when running. This will help lengthen out the hip flexor and quad muscle.
When your hamstrings are tight, it will limit you by reducing how high you can lift your knee. This stretch can also help ease lower back pain, a common running injury.