In honor of Sunday Runday, I Thought I’d do a post specific to running. Over the last couple of weeks I have been pushing myself to run more, I say pushing myself because I admittedly struggle with running due to being a bit overweight. It’s not easy carrying an extra 25ish pounds around, and certainly not while running.
This became even more apparent to me when I was feeling “uncomfortable” during my recent runs. Fortunately for me, our home gym is lined with mirrors and I can easy look at what is going on. That’s when I began observing my runner’s form, or lack thereof in this case.
Why would I do this to myself? I should know better, and I do but… (I’ll also blame that on the extra pounds, since I have no actual excuse).
Each run I would notice one or all of the following things occurring. My shoulders were tight and pulled up, my fists were tightly clenched and I was pumping my arms furiously. Then I realized my dominate foot (right) was doing this weird push off from the ball of the foot… what the? All wrong, all of it. No wonder it was the worlds slowest run and I felt exhausted so quickly
I know there is a plethora of information about good form, so I’ll spare you the lengthy version of details. But I’ve always prided myself on my running form, there is something really beautiful about running in a way that makes it look effortless… and my experience is that when you run with good form, it can feel effortless (or at least more effortless than if you flailed around in a forward motion). I also know good form can help prevent shin splints and if you don’t know what those are, I’m jealous of you. I had not experienced them as a young runner, but there was a time about 4-5 years ago that I finally experienced them when I suddenly increased my training in preparing for a 1/2 marathon and it was awful. It’s in part because of that weird thing I mentioned earlier that I do with my right foot.
So here are my personal tips on what good runners form should look like.
- Loosen up! Those strong shoulders should be relaxed. Now you may need to adjust this a million times during a run, and especially if your muscles aren’t fully developed in the upper back and shoulder areas. You’ll need to consciously relax them. Take a deep breath, and just let them fall down and back. You’ll feel ten times better and it will happen immediately.
- You aren’t getting in a fist fight right? Hopefully not. So there is no need to clench your fists like you’re ready for a TKO. That just leads to more tension in your shoulders. Again, loosen up. Let the jazz hands out for a bit 🤗
- Those flailing arms are best used in a Zumba class. They work more efficiently for your run when kept closer to your body. Unless you are sprinting/racing, there really is no need to pump your arms across your body. You likely want to conserve that energy for a longer run.
- Suck it in! Or as some might say, engage your core. You’ll be much more comfortable if your spine is in a good position and you aren’t straining your back. Plus engaging your core helps build a stronger core. Win, win!
- Feet. Oh the question of how to deal with your feet while running. I’m on team “mid foot”- meaning with each step you typically land more towards the middle of your foot rather than pounding into your heals (jarring your ankles repetitively) or on the balls of your feet. Some people feel that you should land on your heels and push all the way through to the balls of your feet and then push off to the next step. As for pounding your heels… I’m pretty sure that is another sign your form needs to be checked, try and become a ninja while you run. This will also help if you have neighbors. Land soft! I also have this other weird issue with my feet/toes turning out (yes, like a penguin) so I always keep that in check as well, feet should be in alignment with your knees.
Don’t forget to breath! Whenever I check my running posture, I always take deep breaths… it helps me with my running chi. And remember that the main purpose of good form is to prevent injury and be comfortable.
This last week I worked up to 3.1 miles (or as is easier to type/say 5k) I’m working on increasing my endurance so I’m back to my normal running self, and today’s goal is to hit 4 miles. I always do the Portland Shamrock Run in March and if I don’t work towards it today, I won’t be ready by then. More on endurance training later!
-Beach Body Bliss