Running is a sport that stretches your body and mind at the same time. According to iconic running champions this form of sport is a kind of meditation that lets you fly away no matter the distance, allowing you to connect to yourself from the moment you take off, land and reach the finish line – or whatever goal that you have set yourself.
If you set out to achieve your personal best with every run that you do then you will need to be armed with the techniques and moves that will make your run as efficient and speedy as possible. Watch our video and read more for a powerful running experience.
Start by choosing the right running shoes and perfect your warm-up technique to get your muscles stretched and ready to move. Here are a few tips and techniques to help you get the most out of your run, by training your body to run with power, force and agility.
Run with explosive strides
To add power to your run you will want to use the middle part of your foot as you land on your mid-sole and roll through to the toes with every strike. Landing on the toes or heels will not help to maintain stability as it hinders the forward movement as you run. To practice this movement try running barefoot on a soft surface for 1 minute on a daily basis to allow your body to find its natural stride, and you will find that the foot naturally lands on its middle.
There should be a steady flow when you are running, rather than any bounce and your feet should be landing under your hips, not in front of your body. Bouncing is an ineffective way of running as it causes greater energy loss and can cause harm to your muscles due to the impact it creates. To avoid this, make small, fast strides and measure the number of strides per minute so that you can track your progress. Try this out with up-beat music in the background which will drive your body to control the speed and height of your strides. You can use sports-related Apps and watches to calculate your strides as they will provide stats from each run that you do, allowing you to keep track of your progress. See our collection of wearable technology and choose the one for you.
Maintain a regular breath pattern
When running, your body requires a lot of oxygen as a result of heavier breathing and more demand on the lungs – your heart will also be pumping more blood around the body which needs oxygenating to feed all your cells with oxygen, so you can see just how important breathing is. Although breathing through the mouth allows more air to flow into your lungs, the body can’t turn it into carbon dioxide fast enough, so it is more effective to breathe through your nose and out through your mouth to steady the breath pattern as you run. Finding the right pattern of breathing while running is essential and will also help you to find your natural pace. Some runners find the 2-2 or 2-3 pattern effective, which means that you run for 2 strides while taking a breath in, and follow with 2 or 3 strides and breathe back out. Try running with different types of breath patterns until you find the best method for you.
Activate your arms
Moving your arms in the correct way will give you that extra push to propel your body forwards. Effective use of the arms is also essential for making the whole body more balanced while running.
Opposites in sync: Move the opposite arm and leg in sync, as this will guarantee the necessary stabilisation of your body.
Swing the arms for a full range of motion: Arm swing should start from the shoulder not the elbow. Fix the elbow at a 90-degree angle and hold it close to your body, then swing forwards and backwards making the axis point at the shoulder joint. This technique will help to provide the momentum you need to run further and faster. Avoid swinging your arms across your body as this will waste energy.
Focused yet relaxed: Your shoulders and hands should be relaxed while you run, ensuring that you keep your shoulders down with your hands directed forwards and not strained into a fist.
Listen to your body
After each run your body will need time to recover. Don’t ignore this phase as it’s an essential resting period that will allow your body to prepare for the next challenge that it is faced with.
Stretch: Your muscles are now feeling fatigued and require a series of stretching exercises to let them cool down and maintain flexibility. Breathe deeply and give the main muscle groups a 15-second stretch, including the hips, thighs, hamstrings and lower back.
Hit the gym: A few daily reps of weight lifting and cardio sessions will certainly help with your training by adding more power to the key muscles that you use when running.
For more information and tips on your running technique see our Running series and check out the SSS Running page with its exceptional rage of running gear. Find everything you need at Sun & Sand Sports online.