If you’ve ever watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants—particularly the part where Bridget (played by Blake Lively) goes running across the Mexican beach, with her soccer team jogging doggedly behind her and her love interest, Eric, sprinting beside her, you’ve probably wondered, “How is it possible to run and look that good at the same time?” While it may be impossible to refine real life so that you can smile blissfully into the sun, despite the shin splints and side aches, we can suggest some ideas on how to improve your form.
6 Tips to Improve Your Running Form
- Head: Holding your head in the right position is the key to having great posture. Use your gaze as a guide, and keep the horizon in sight. Looking straight ahead naturally rather than at the ground will keep your neck and back straight.
- Shoulders: While it may feel like running is really a method of killing one’s self, the body is actually meant to be relaxed during your workout. Keep your shoulders low and loose, not high and tight. While it might be tempting to pull them toward your ears as you tire, it’s best to keep them level. If they do start to creep up, shake them out, and don’t let them dip from side to side. You’re going for a run; not learning to shimmy.
- Arms: Have you ever seen someone running very awkwardly with their hands at their sides, like tentacles flopping in the wind? In case you were wondering, that is not the correct position. Your hands control the tension in your upper body, while your arm swing works in conjunction with your stride to drive you forward. Unclench those fists, then let your arms swing forward and back (but not across your body), between your waist and chest at about a 90-degree angle.
- Hips: Keep your hips truthful by remembering that as your body’s center of gravity, it’s their job to keep your body in proper alignment. It’s important to keep your pelvis from tipping forward, which can put pressure on your back.
- Legs: For sprinters, it is imperative to lift the knees high. Distance runners, on the other hand, don’t need to exaggerate their knee-lifts. Instead, in order to run at a sustained speed and distance, it is best to run with only a slight knee-bend, with a quick leg turnover and short stride. If you are running well, your feet should land directly below your body, and your knee should be slightly flexed to bend on impact.
- Ankles and Feet: Running has nothing to do with being a ballerina. Make sure that as each foot hits the ground, you are putting weight between your heel and midfoot before rolling to the front of your foot and springing off the ground.
Running may not be the most fun activity you’ve ever tried, but doing it correctly with sound posture will give you the healthy advantage. And who knows… you may just end up signing up for a 50-miler like your crazy San Jose personal trainers John and Monica did.
Till next time, keep your fitness fun and fresh!
Stonger for Today,
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