How you hold your head is key to overall posture. This determines how efficiently you run. You should let your gaze guide you. Look ahead naturally and scan the horizon, don’t look down at your feet. This will promote straightening of your neck and back, and help bring them into alignment. Don’t allow your chin to jut out, this will start a progression of wrong form throughout the entire body.
Shoulders play an important role in keeping your upper body relaxed while you run, which is critical to maintaining efficient running posture. For optimum performance, your shoulders should be low and loose, not high and tight. As you tire on a run, don’t let them creep up toward your ears.
By the same token, try to refrain from elevating the shoulders in the cold weather. If they do, shake them out to release the tension. Your shoulders also need to remain level and shouldn’t dip from side to side with each stride, albeit they should rotate forward and backwards in a contra-lateral movement to your feet.
Even though running is primarily a lower-body activity, your arms aren’t just along for the ride. Your hands control the tension in your upper body, while your arm swing works in conjunction with your leg stride to drive you forward. The arms add tremendously to your momentum.
Keep your hands in an unclenched fist, with your fingers lightly touching your palms. Your arms should swing mostly forward and back, not across your body,between waist and lower-chest level. Your elbows should be bent at about a 90-degree angle.or greater. When you feel your fists clenching or your forearms tensing, drop your arms to your sides and shake them out for a few seconds to release the tension.
The position of your torso while running is affected by the position of your head and shoulders. With your head up, gaze straight forward and your shoulders low and loose, your torso and back naturally straighten to allow you to run in an efficient, upright position that promotes optimal lung capacity and stride length.
Many track coaches describe this ideal torso position as “running tall” and it means you need to stretch yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight. Imagine you are being pulled up by a rope from the sky with the rope attached to the top of your head. If you start to slouch during a run take a deep breath and feel yourself naturally straighten. As you exhale simply maintain that upright position.
Your hips are your center of gravity, so they’re key to good running posture. The proper position of your torso while running helps to ensure your hips will also be in the ideal position. With your torso and back comfortably upright and straight, your hips naturally fall into proper alignment–pointing you straight ahead.
If you allow your torso to hunch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward as well, which can put pressure on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment. When trying to gauge the position of your hips, think of your pelvis as a bowl filled with water, then try not to spill the water by tilting the bowl.
While sprinters need to lift their knees high to achieve maximum leg power, distance runners don’t need such an exaggerated knee lift–it’s simply too hard to sustain for any length of time. Instead, efficient endurance running requires just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride.
Together, these will facilitate fluid forward movement instead of diverting (and wasting) energy. When running with the proper stride length, your feet should land directly underneath your body. As your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly flexed so that it can bend naturally to absorb the impact. If your lower leg (below the knee) extends out in front of your body, your stride is too long. and undue stress on your groin and hamstrings ensue.
To run well, you need to push off the ground with maximum force. With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly–landing between your heel and midfoot–then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground.
You should feel your calf muscles and great toe musculature propelling you forward on each step. Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running is springy, quiet and relaxed.
Bodhizone Physical Therapy and Wellness was created at the onset of the new millennium in order to bridge the gap between strength and conditioning and rehabilitation. We have 4 clinics in New York (Grand Central, Astoria, Bayside & The Hamptons) and provide care to everyone at a level that Olympic athletes receive. The services we offer are physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, massage and more.
If you’re looking to build yourself up as an athlete, why not take personal training from us? Where better to train than a place that has built up professional athletes to the highest degree.