Unfortunately, we can’t all be born with the long-limbed, thin bodies of world-class runners, but we can maximize what we do have by working on becoming a more efficient runner, which is the key to becoming a better runner.
Proper stride and foot strike placement
If you’re over-striding, which is when the foot strikes the ground in front of your center of gravity, it’s like putting on the brakes. Your natural running stride should feel easy, not awkward.
The right stride not only reduces your risk of injury but helps to increase your speed. If you glance down at your feet while running and can see your toes way out in front of you, try to focus on keeping your feet directly below your hips.
To ensure proper foot strike placement, start with a good body lean by standing tall, leaning forward and bending from the ankles. Keep the rest of your body aligned. Lean until you almost fall over, keeping your heels down. At this point, you should automatically be picking your feet up as you would to run. This is the amount of lean you’ll want to aim for throughout your run.
Adding quick cadence is also important. Experts suggest a turnover of 180 to 200 strikes per minute ideally. Cadence can be quantified by counting footfalls on one leg for one minute. You can also measure this using a metronome app on your phone.
Improving hip strength and stability
Improving your hip strength and stability is a must for becoming a better runner, because if you don’t have the strength to properly stabilize the motion throughout the duration of your run, you’ll increase the risk of injury in addition to being less efficient.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the inclusion of explosive strength training results in improved running economy by minimizing wasted motion and increasing the ability to apply power quickly.
Upper body motion
While your arms provide some rotational stability, that movement should not be excessive. Rather than using extra energy to swing your arms, let your spine rotate fluidly. Keep your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees, and don’t let your arm swing across your vertical center line. Try and keep your hands and face relaxed. Lightly pumping your arms can be especially effective for running uphill and sprinting.
Try incorporating these tips the next time you run, and you’ll become a better runner in no time.
-The Alternative Daily