Perfect running form can vary somewhat from person to person based on factors like body type and running style. However, there are some general principles of good running form that can help all runners improve their efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance their overall performance. Here are some key components of good running form:
Let’s start from the head. Most people tend to look downwards at their shoes or at the road while running. This should be avoided. One of the best running techniques and tips given by coaches is to keep your head focused on the horizon while running. Running with the head downwards will cause a strain in your neck and result in contraction of the back. Hence, by keeping your head straight, you can minimize the chances of injuries.
Shoulder positioning is also one of the most important running techniques for sprinters. Proper positioning of shoulders will help you increase your speed of running. While running, most people tend to keep their shoulders shrugged up rigidly which is to be avoided. The proper running technique is to let your shoulders just loose enough keeping themselves at a low level.
Arms and Palms
While running it is not necessary to clench your fists, unless you are running to hit somebody! 🙂 Keep your fists loose so that you do not apply unnecessary pressure on your palms or knuckles. Move your arms forwards and backwards between the chest and the waist. Please do ensure that at no point you make your arms more rigid than they need to be. Let your arms move freely and ensure that they do not obstruct your run by moving sideways.
Torso and Hips
It is important that you maintain an upright torso while running. If you keep your head up & straight and torso low, your torso will automatically straighten. Maintaining an upright torso while running is very important, as it allows the lungs to breathe with maximum oxygen and run more. With a straight back and torso, the hips will also fall into the correct place i.e. parallel to the ground. Maintaining the proper running form for the hips is an important part of proper running technique for sprinters as hips are the center of gravity, and an improper hip position can really slow down a sprinter.
Legs and Feet
It is essential that when sprinters run, they maintain a high knee-lift, as this will enable them to take a longer stride and apply more pressure while landing on the feet and pushing the ground for the next motion. This is quite good running technique for sprinters. Breathing should also be monitored and rhythmic. For endurance runners, it’s recommended that they do not lift their knees too high and take shorter strides, as taking longer strides consumes more energy. Long distance runners need to spread out their energy over the long run hence, it’s better that they take shorter strides. Make sure that your ankles are flexed when you land your foot on the ground, so that you can create more ‘jump’ in the push-off.
It’s important to note that achieving perfect running form may take time and practice. Consider videotaping your running to analyze your form or seek feedback from a running coach or experienced runner. Additionally, listen to your body, as individual differences may necessitate slight variations in form to prevent discomfort or injury. The key is to find a good running form that allows you to run comfortably, efficiently, and safely.