Try these expert-approved hacks to instantly upgrade the way you run.
Whether you run for fun or competition, improving your form should be high on your list of priorities. Because while it’s an easy sell, there is in fact a bit more to it than simply ‘putting one foot in front of the other’.
Adjusting your technique will reduce your risk of injury, and turn you into a quicker, stronger, more efficient athlete.
With that in mind, the team at Meglio have pulled together the following advice to help you run better than ever.
1. Tune your Technique
While emulating the elites might seem the way to go, trying to force yourself into an unnatural gait can lead to injury and actually make you less efficient.
Instead, think about some universally accepted form cues around posture, foot strike, breathing, and foot turnover (cadence).
Try to stay upright and balanced as you run and avoid hunching over and looking at the floor – you generally want to be looking ahead to the horizon. Imagine a band is pulling you forward from the waist.
Think about landing more softly and quietly, rather than plodding along, land with your feet as close to your centre of mass as possible (rather than way out in front) and make an effort to lift your legs rather than dragging them behind you.
Finally, work on increasing your cadence, which is how many steps you take per minute. A higher cadence is desirable, with the optimal being between 170-180 steps per minute. You might find running to the beat of a metronome – there are a few phone apps available – helps at first.
2. Join the Resistance
What you do away from running can be just as beneficial as the running itself.
Regular strength training, along with mobility work, will loosen any overly tight muscles, strengthen weaknesses and fix imbalances.
A good runner should have a strong core and back, as well as flexibility in the hips in order to achieve good running form.
Many runners suffer from the same conditions, like tight hamstrings and weak glutes, which over time can lead to poor posture and poor running form.
Incorporate band work into your strength training routine to encourage better form and strengthen particular weak spots. For example, putting a resistance band around your knees and pushing against it when you squat can help to fire up the glutes and stop them from being lazy or inactive.
You can also try adding skipping to your gym routine, which will encourage you to be light on your toes and strengthen your calf muscles.
3. Run for the Hills
Running uphill is tough and sometimes ugly, but it has numerous benefits.
Uphill running requires more neuromuscular coordination than running on flat ground, as your brain needs to communicate with your muscles to produce the right force and strength to make it to the top.
When running uphill, you’ll naturally lift your knees higher, push off your forefoot and pump your arms, all of which are elements of good running form.
On the downhills, you’ll need to squeeze those glutes and be light on your toes to stay in control, again encouraging good form.
Practise hill repeats once a week and you’ll soon be running better on the flats, too. You’ll also increase your VO2 max and lactate threshold, which in turn will improve your running performance.
To find out more about Meglio and their range of home fitness kit, visit mymeglio.com