A poor or incorrect running style or technique can result in unnecessary injury and even risks of long-term health damage. There are a great many part-time or recreational joggers, runners or fun-runners who put undue strain on their bodies by using the wrong style or technique whilst running.
There isn’t one style to fit all but there are common mistakes that, if avoided, can result in a healthier style which will increase speed and make your run more enjoyable.
Is your running style efficient?
There are five major running mistakes as follows:
1) Bouncing up and down too much whilst running
2) Over complicated stride
3) Pounding the ground too hard
4) Not using the arms properly or at all
5) Jogging at a slower pace than walking
To help you get over these common mistakes this article has put together latest research, medical advice and support to help you find the right style to get the most out of your jogs and runs.
When we run we use all our body including the heart, the nervous system, and our skeletal and muscular system. It’s a high impact sport with high-impact dangers. As humans we are not born to run we are taught to run. Therefore, you need to think about the mechanics of running.
The body’s complex system of muscle, tendon and ligament springs behave like a linear spring (Farley et al, 1995, p181). Our body is therefore designed to function in a certain way. What we can do to help our bodies is to perfect the right modes of function. This way we can develop the right stride, the bounce, the right contact with the ground, the right body swing and the correct pace – all of which will help a runner achieve a healthy and successful outcome.
What to do when you bounce up and down too much whilst running?
The best way to help reduce running bounce is to keep your feet low to the ground – the longer your stride the longer you spend in the air which in turn will slow you down. Researchers have found that “by keeping your arms at an angle of 90 degrees, your body will physically concentrate on the flow and swing of your body’s motion” (Reed, 2009: p43).
By keeping your feet low to the ground, concentrating on the swing of your body and by running on the balls of your feet you should avoid the bounce.
How to perfect your stride?
The stride is very important in running. Paula Radcliffe claims finding the right stride is the difference between success and failure when running (ITN, 2004). The sport science behind the stride claims “the focus should be on turnover, in the sense that your feet should be at a comfortable interval and connect with the ground for longer” (Grice et al, 2010: p1023).
How to stop pounding the ground too hard?
This happens because of the way your feet connect with the floor. The last two points have focused on the stride – the length between feet – and the bounce – the amount of time you are in the air. This point evaluates the issue of pounding the ground too hard. What professional track, marathon or off-road runners say, regarding pounding, surrounds the part of the foot that connects with the ground. Scientists claim “for maximum efficiency an adult runner should use the ball of their foot to achieve maximum movement velocity” (Lesley et al, 2012: p134).
How best to use your arms?
You might be thinking why you should use your arms? The point surrounds the fact jogging or running is all-over body workout. The importance of the arms surrounds the right connection between the balls of your feet with the ground, the right interval between strides and the right balance when running. When running you need to focus your attention on the placement of your arms. The right balance is to have them bent at an approximately 90 degree angle whilst using the arms to propel the movement in your body (Farley, 1996: p181).
What if you’re jogging slower than walking?
The biomechanics of your body mean that if you are jogging slower than you walk then you won’t get the full results for your endeavours. You need to achieve a minimum speed in order to make sure you get the most out of your jog or run. Scientists at the University of Sidney have found that people that tend to get the most out of their runs, on average, achieve a 4 to 6 mile per hour ratio (Tolson et al, 2000: p1872). If you are doing less than 3.99 miles per hour then you could be achieving more by walking.
There you have it! Five great tips to change you running style to help you get the most out of your run. The difference in stride, bounce, position of arms, speed and impact can all make a huge difference in your style. Why waste time? By changing these small techniques you can start to feel the difference in the results of your running within a few short weeks.