July 28, 2017

Running Technique with David Thuo

1.IMPORTANCE

Running is said to come naturally, However, when we run often for fitness or competition,we cannot overlook our running technique.In as much as all of us have a unique and personal running style,it is important to incorporate proper running technique to our style.

Arms and legs flapping all over the place are highly inefficient. Think of your arms as a propulsion mechanism. Do you want to reach the sky, or would you prefer to get to the finish line?Having proper technique will help you to:

 

  • Be more efficient: It maximizes the economy of running eliminating unnecessary movement,eg side-to-side motions, transferring all of your energy into propulsion (moving you forward).
  • Minimize the chance of injury: during running, the foot strikes the ground with a force greater than twice your bodyweight. Poor running technique, multiplies this tenfold.A Combination of correct running technique and appropriate running equipment helps reduce these landing forces and therefore the stress on your bones and muscles, minimizing the chance of injury.

2.CORRECT RUNNING FORM-(a)

 

BODY AREA

CORRECT POSITION
Head Your head should be erect, with your eyes focusing far ahead.
Shoulders Your shoulders should be low, square and pulled back. Do not hunch your back.
Arms Carry arms low (elbows bent at about 90 degrees – The arm  motion should be straight forward and backward, avoiding letting your hands cross the midline of your body.Arms should swing freely.
Hands Hands should be fairly relaxed, in a loose fist position (thumb on top of fingers). Imagine carrying potato chips between your fingers and not wanting to break them, nor drop them.
Torso Stay tall, keeping back nice and straight. Keeping spine erect permit better movement of the diaphragm and rib cage, allowing maximal breathing capacity. Resist the temptation to lean forward by bending at the waist as this increases the tension on the lower back and may cause injury.

3.CORRECT RUNNING FORM-(b)

 

BODY AREA

CORRECT POSITION
Hips Hips should be square and level with almost no sideways movement. Minimize the amount of vertical displacement keep your hips level throughout the entire swing of the leg.
Legs Legs should be relaxed and move easily under the body like a wheel rolling smoothly along. Focus on lifting the leg off the ground as opposed to pushing off. Allow the knees rather than feet to lead you forward. Increasing stride length by reaching forward with your foot (called overstriding) will cause a braking action, which both slows you down and sends shock waves up through the entire leg with every stride – eventually causing all sorts of damage like chronic hamstring tendonitis.
Feet Your feet should be pointed straight ahead and land directly under the hip. Focus on landing on your midfoot or ball of the foot as opposed to your heel.

4.HOW TO IMPROVE RUNNING FORM

GET STRONG

A strong core is important for injury prevention because it makes the runners body stable when running. Core muscles for runners help to stabilize the spine and make movement of the extremities as economical as possible, allowing the transfer of power with minimal dissipation of energy. Core strength reinforces the way that the pelvis, abs, hips and lower back work together reducing chances of picking up injuries.As we get tired during long runs, our form deteriorates if we do not have a strong core and this leads to overloading of various muscles leading to excessive fatigue and pote

GET YOUR POWER ON

Adding plyometrics into your regular routine will boost strength and speed by improving the elasticity of the muscle via the stretch-shortening cycle. That is, when the muscle is stretched before an explosive contraction, like bending through the knee ibefore a single leg jump, it contracts more powerfully and quickly.

Because of their explosive nature, it is best to weave them into your program after establishing a solid base of strength-training, once per week, and in rotation with your strength-training program. Perform these exercises after your runs to focus on good form, as performing plyometrics with sloppy form can quickly lead to injury. Some  plyometric exercises are power skips,leg bounding and squat jumps

Power skips: Keeping your arms in running form, skip for a total of 20 on each leg, focusing on landing lightly on the balls of your feet and increasing the height of each skip.

Leg bounding: With an exaggerated running form, bound forward by jumping with each stride, focusing on an exaggerated knee lift for 20 seconds.   Walk back to recover and repeat 2-3 times.

Squat jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend into squat position with your hips back and knees bent. Tap the floor with your hands and jump up reaching your hands to straight over your head. Bend your knees as you land, touch the ground again, and repeat for 20 seconds.

5.RUNNING FORM ON HILLS

Lean into the hill without hunching at the waist to lean forward. This constricts your airway and makes it harder to breathe deeply. lean at the hips, not the waist. Keep your head and eyes up, looking about 30 meters in front of you. Dropping the head restricts how much oxygen you can take in and will cause you to slouch. (3) Focus on driving your knee off the hill, not into the hill  (4) Plantar flex (point your toes towards the ground) at the ankle.

6.RUNNING DOWNHILLS

The correct technique can make a big difference to your performance. Slightly lean forward at the hips to take advantage of the downhill. Don’t overdo the lean; you only need a slight tilt to benefit from gravity. Keep arms relaxed and only slightly moving forward and back. Moving  them to the sides,will waste energy. Focus on landing towards the midfoot to maintain speed while staying in control. Leaning back leads to braking, which greatly increases impact forces on the joints and causes a reduction in speed. Speeding down the hill can make the descend out of control and causes unnecessary muscle damage in the quadriceps.

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