Running is a crowd favourite among fitness enthusiasts for its amazing health benefits and simplicity. After all, the only things you need are a proper pair of running shoes, a breathable exercise outfit, and a suitable area to pound the pavement. However, many people don’t realise that they may be using the wrong running form when they’re speeding along, which can harm their bodies in the long run.
It can be challenging to pinpoint what you may be doing wrong with your running form, especially if you’re unsure what the right one is. For your benefit, we’ve compiled some of the most common running form mistakes that can help you run faster and last longer while improving your aerobic engine, preparing you for a health and fitness check in Bondi. Here are four of them:
Striking the Ground With Your Heels
Although you may not be aware of this, striking the ground with your heels can slow you down, often when you run with your hips behind your feet. With this stance, you can’t push off your foot if they’re constantly in front of your hips. Instead of leaning too forward, move back slightly so that your hips stand over your feet, which will help you propel forward. One way to help you achieve this form is to practice running barefoot on a carpet, grass, or turf for brief bursts, like 20 seconds at a time. Your body will slip into its natural stride, allowing you to be familiar with how it’s supposed to run.
Running With a Slow Cadence
While running with a slow cadence is acceptable for when you’re going for a light jog or a cooldown, a slow cadence will harm your efficiency. A slow rhythm occurs when runners try to increase their stride length instead of their frequency, which should optimally be 180 foot strikes per minute. The longer your feet spend on the ground, the more energy you’ll need to push it off the ground and move forward.
To determine your stride frequency, count your steps for 15 seconds, then multiply it by 4. If you make 35 steps in 15 seconds, that means you’re taking only 140 foot strikes per minutes. Focus on improving your stride frequency instead of your length, and you’ll eventually hit 180 foot strikes per minute, helping you run faster and more efficiently.
Tensing Your Upper Body
Even experienced runners struggle with a tense upper body, as it can seem impossible to run fast and relaxed at the same time. However, straining your upper body while running will cause more harm than good over time, and you may end up hurting yourself if you maintain this stance.
Running with a relaxed upper body is something that world-class sprinters have learned to perfect, as they run with slackened shoulders and unclenched jaws, allowing them to drive their knees effortlessly toward the hips. To achieve this, maintain a 90-degree angle with your elbows and avoid releasing this when you swing your arms back. Raise your shoulders to your ears when you hit a mile marker during a race, then relax them right after.
Mobility is the most crucial factor in running fast and staying fit and healthy. If you aren’t making the full range of motion in your lower body, you’ll be more prone to injury. An excellent way to increase this is to practice active isolated stretching, popularised by Phil Warton. The method aims to lengthen the muscles properly, prepping them for activity and preventing excess strain and injury.
Another tip to keep in mind is to keep your head level when you run. If you allow it to bounce up and down as you move forward, you’ll not only give yourself a headache, but you’ll overexert your neck as well.
Running is a simple way to get your cardiovascular system going, helping you stay fit and even shed a few calories in the process. However, it’s crucial to run with the right form, as doing otherwise can hurt your body and leave you susceptible to injury. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can correct your form and enjoy all the benefits that running has to offer.
Invigor Health offers affordable physiotherapy in Bondi that fixes your pain and future-proofs your body, improving your performance. With our services of physiotherapy, movement screen, and running assessments, you’ll feel fit, active, and pain-free for the long-term. Schedule your next appointment with us today!