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Perfecting running performance, stride and form are paramount

FIT Staff
Aug 22, 2013

Running is still popular and is relatively cheap and simple, but can take time to master. 

Even without access to a weight room, the habitual runner should perform strength training two to three times a week to increase performance and decrease the risk of injury.

The aim should be to perform whole body movements that incorporate large groups of muscles along with balance and stability. 

Some of those moves should also be incorporated into a dynamic warm up before running. This will set a solid base to start a running program.

Perfecting your running performance, stride and form are paramount.

Good posture with a slight forward bend will help distribute the force throughout your body while enhancing forward propulsion.

Keep your eyes set on the horizon while keeping your chin tucked in rather than jutting out. This will help maintain form through the rest of your body.  

Your arms should be relaxed with a slight bend in your elbows.

As you fatigue, your shoulder will start to elevate toward your ears. This is why you might get sore shoulders and tension headaches as your mileage increases.

To assist your legs, your arms should swing forward and back not across your body.

Your fists should be loosely half clinched with your hands not crossing your pocket line as they swing. The arm swing will help propel your legs, but if you excessively swing you will start to swivel your hips and waste energy.

The foot strike has received increasing attention due to the barefoot craze.

The whole point of barefoot running is to strengthen the small muscles in the feet and to correct the heel striking stride. When you wear shoes with big cushy heels, the tendency is to over stride and heel strike increases.

Heel striking causes many of the common maladies for runners hence the increased interest in barefoot training.

Barefoot training is akin to the samurai master snapping you with a bamboo stick for every mistake.

When you run barefoot and heel strike it hurts and you naturally stop.

When you correct your running pattern, then you can switch to minimalist shoes for moderate distances.

With some vigilance, you can run with minimal injury risks and work on improving your times.