Running Dos & Don’ts

Posted: June 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

The weather is getting warmer and many of us are getting outside and getting back to running. You may be feeling new aches and pains or maybe feeling inefficient as you get back into it. Let’s review some common mistakes in running and some fixes that can keep you running and feeling good.

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  1. Not Warming Up

This is a pretty easy one to fix and although people know what to do they choose not to.

Would you snatch or do pull-ups without warming up your muscles or going through the motions first? OF course not. Yet most runners step out of their cars, touch their toes twice and they’re off! Then that first mile or so feels awful. Your ankles aren’t ready for impact, your hips and back are tight and you feel slow. It is my belief that this is why many people say they “can’t run”. They can not get past the first mile of feeling awful.

To prevent this terrible start to your run, take a few minutes and prep your body. You have all done hundreds of warm up at RAW. You know what to do!  (Air-squats, side lunges, ankle rolls, high knees, butt kicks, band some body twists at the least)

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  1. Heel Striking

Now that your warm and running let’s talk about running technique. You’ve probably heard warnings for this error a million times in a million ways. “Don’t heel strike”, “Land on your mid-foot”, “Don’t over-stride”. They all mean the same thing. When your feet strike the ground when your foot is ahead of your hips, your ankles, knees and hips have to absorb the impact while each step is acting like a brake and slowing your progress. There are books  and books written about how to change your form but I have found that the best and easiest way to make a quick change is to just think about turning over your feet faster. Not running faster but think about taking more steps to cover the same distance. This forces your foot to strike the ground under your hips, making it impossible to strike your heel first. This increases your cadence. (If you heel strike it is certain you have a slow cadence)

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  1. Slow Cadence

This bring us to the next mistake. Slow cadence. Optimal cadence for running is 180 foot strikes per minute. The easiest way to figure out your cadence is to count your steps for 15 seconds then multiply by 4. The easiest way to fix a slow cadence is again focusing on increasing your turnover. Turn off the music and listen to your feet when you run. Aim for quick light steps and slowly increase until you can get yourself to 180 comfortably.

  1. Tense Upper Body

Running is not just about the legs, it is a full body activity, and nothing drains a body more in a run than a tight upper body. People often run with tight fists, straight arms, and shoulders shrugged. This is a drain of energy that could be focused on your run. 

To avoid these common mistakes do a “body check” when running. At a predetermined distance (every mile marker, every road intersection etc) go through these steps:

  1. shrug your shoulders then drop them into position
  2. check your angle of your elbows. They should be kept a 90º. DO not release in the back swing
  3. straighten your fingers then allow them to relax
  1. Lazy Feet

Now that I told you to relax I’m telling you not to be lazy! Every stride you take your ankle should be lifted toward your butt, then allowed to fall to the ground, under your hips, in place to be lifted again. When lift occurs and its followed by proper landing, it creates the optimal positioning to utilize forward progression with the least amount of resistance and utilizing gravity to push you along.  If you ‘’scuff” your feet you are not getting proper lifting of the heel. Again… be in tune with your body and listen to your feet. If you hear scuffing you are not getting proper lift.

Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors and run better than ever before! Ill see you at the Boathouse 🙂

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