Running is a pretty straightforward activity, right? You simply dress for the weather, lace up your shoes and head out the door. And once you start running, chances are you’re focusing on your speed and time, rather than on your form.
But how you run can matter just as much as how fast or how far you go. As in a sport like tennis where proper form can make the difference between a winning serve and a weak one, adjusting your running form can not only make you a faster, more efficient runner—it may even help prevent injuries. So what does the perfect form look like?
According to an article in Runner’s World magazine, a runner with perfect form would look something like this: They would be looking towards the horizon rather than down at their feet, with shoulders low and relaxed, remaining level with every stride. Their arms, bent at roughly 90 degrees, would be swinging back and forth from the shoulder joint between waist and lower-chest level, rather than across their body and their hands would be relaxed, rather than clenched into tight fists. They would be “running tall” with back comfortably straight, rather than slouching, which would help keep their hips and pelvis in proper alignment.
The runner’s knees would lift only slightly and they would be taking short strides with a rapid leg turnover, with their feet landing right underneath their body (rather than in front of it). Their foot would hit the ground lightly between their heel and mid-foot, roll forward onto the toes and lift off, with their calf muscles helping to propel them forward.
If you think you need advice on how to improve your running form, signing up for a running clinic may help. Feet in Motion, Georgetown’s own running store, offers a range of running clinics suitable for runners at different levels. Their experienced staff can also assess your running form. Visit them today at 72 Main St. South or check out www.feetinmotion.ca.