A cadence of around 180 steps per minute. Most recreational runners run at too low a cadence, focusing on stride length instead of a quick turnover of the feet. Get the cadence right and allow the stride length to adapt accordingly. This is more efficient. Note that this may vary a little if you have extremely long or short legs, in which case try to get closer to this figure but allow yourself some leeway.Forward momentum, not up and down.
A slight forward lean from the ankles will enable you to fall forward slightly into your stride, enabling you to work with gravity instead of bobbing up and down and putting the brakes on with every step.
Foot landing under centre of mass with a flexed knee. This should also happen with a slight forward lean and you can focus on extending the leg out behind, instead of striding out in front to create braking as so many do with a tall upright stance (usually those runners who complain of lower back pain).
Little torso rotation. A stable yet mobile pelvis to create just enough rotation through the upper body to propel you forward, but not excessive to waste energy. A minimal amount of belly fat also helps!
Landing on the forefoot with a slight ‘kiss’ of the heel on the ground. This happens naturally in a barefoot or minimalist shoe. We can only heel strike hard successfully because of built up running shoes which stop the system from working properly to absorb, dissipate and regenerate the kinetic energy from the ground.
Pushing hard into the ground with every push off will also assist with generating elastic recoil through the springs of your feet and lower leg, rather than the soft gliding across the ground that many seem to favour. We need to use the ground for forward propulsion – ground reaction forces are not the big evil that running shoe manufacturers claim – it’s about using this ‘free’ elastic energy to your advantage – not blocking it.
Shoulders down and back. This enables good, relaxed arm drive without excessive tension and flared elbows, leading to over rotation of the upper body. This also helps to open the chest for efficient breathing.
Arms relaxed at 90 degrees, driving back as well as forward.
Relaxed hands, fingers and wrists. Any tension in any of these areas, or the arms or shoulders, will impact all along the arm lines of fascia, front and back. These are continuous lines of connective tissue from the pectorals at the front and the trapezius at the back and functions as one to tension or relax the whole line.
Head level. Your head should neither be tilted back, creating tension in the neck, nor should you be looking at the ground, closing your rib cage and inhibiting oxygen intake.
Most recreational runners will struggle with one or more of the above and are often amazed at how quickly they improve their running and injury risk with just one or two small adjustments to running form.
Call David on 07504439555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your running form assessed.