Tips for Optimal Running

Running as we know is a great form of exercise but most people who run or get into running are usually troubled with many different injuries from ankles and knees to low back pain. Simple improvements to running form can drastically reduce the risk of injury as well as increase performance and running efficiency. When coaching athletes on running mechanics there are common coaching areas to focus on first—they are usually the areas that can be easily adapted and have a huge initial impact on running form.

Posture/position: 

Like everyday life posture has a huge effect on running performance. For optimal running performance, have a tall body position, a straight line from your ears to your ankles, while running you should have a slight forward lean and keep your feet underneath you.

Feet:

Your feet are your wheels to the ground, without performance wheels, a Ferrari is just an expensive garage ornament, the same goes for your body. If your feet aren’t strong, resilient and able to absorb and deliver power your running performance will suffer tremendously.  Your feet can tell you a lot about your running form, there are many variations like where your feet are striking the ground, how you are pushing off of the ground and the movement pattern of your foot between strides. For short distance and sprinting you should focus on running on the balls of your feet; when running long distances, you should strike the ground with your midfoot and the ball of your foot.

Muscles to address:

  • A strong and resilient core allows your body to produce force through the ground while maintaining a proper posture and position. Your core prevents excessive rotation during running and can tremendously reduce strain/injury in the lower back, hips and knees.
  • Glutes are a huge power house when it comes to producing force or running, so to run stronger and faster work on strengthening the glutes. Not only are the glutes a primary force producer in running they also play a huge role in stability, especially the glute medius. When running, the glute medius prevents the hips from collapsing with each stride which helps the body maintain a strong posture through running.

Derek and Chief Performance Officer, Steve Hess, demonstrate in the video below!

Michele Bergh