Running Form – is it Important?

Running Form – is it Important?

Why Consider Running Form?

Everyone has their own running style that differs from others due to many different factors.

However, there are few situations where you should actually change your running technique.

A good running technique will simulate better muscle recruitment and motor patterning. This will help improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of fatigue injuries.

Key running form tips:

Body posture:

Teaching good running posture and learning specific and simple muscle activation can be taught through running drills. Running drills will guide you to feel how you are running and how your body are moving.

These drills are important simple drills can progress to help teach good body posture, muscle and global coordination as well as strength and power.

A man running shot from the knees down.

Foot strike position:

Developing a good foot strike position is all about where you strike the ground in relation to your body’s centre of mass (COM). It does not matter if you are a heel, midfoot or forefoot striker but that your foot should strike the ground underneath the body. If your foot is landing in front of your COM this is called ‘overstriding’, which is a common running form fault many people experience whilst running. It creates braking forces which slow you down and significantly increase the amount of force transmitted through your joints which in return also increases your risk of injury. Another indication of overstriding is having a loud foot strike, however can also be linked to other issues.

The bottom half of the bodies of runners in a marathon

Cadence:

Ideal cadence or stride frequency while running is different for everyone a varies based on the length of your limbs and other factors. Your cadence should remain relatively constant regardless of what pace you are running. 

However, the factor that should change as you increase pace is your stride length, which will become longer for the faster you run compared to slower runs assuming your cadence stays the same.

A common fault amongst runners is to maintain stride length, and decrease cadence as they fatigue. This increases the likelihood of you over-striding, increasing your chance of developing an injury. 

Overall, when you run faster your running form is much better compared to running slowly on long runs. This does not mean that the slower runners have worse running form than faster people. It means that for your ability, your technique is likely to be best when running at a faster tempo pace compared to your longer run or easy pace. The reason for this is that running slower increases ground reaction time, and decreases your ability to generate power from tension within the power tendons of your lower limb (eg. Achilles).

A man in running gear holds his shin

The concepts mentioned above are interlinked with each other. By improving one of these concepts you more than likely help influence the other two. Running form is affected adversely when fatigue sets in. It is important to realise when this is happening as you can implement running cues to address fatigued form and maintain your running form. 

There are many opinions on what is ‘ideal running form’ and the ‘best running technique’, but as mentioned earlier everyone will run differently. If you’re new or having concerns with your running form it is important to discuss and learn about running form through experienced professionals.

Book an appointment at Dynamic Podiatry with our Podiatrist as they have the knowledge of running biomechanics, and also of potential structural issues that may prevent certain movements from being possible in your running form.

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