If you are a runner (amateur or elite) you will likely find yourself struggling with injury at some point in your training. When this happens it can be overcome with the help of a good Physiotherapist who understands the bio-mechanics of good running form. Here are a few tips for the amateur runner to optimize their running form and improve their chances of running injury free for longer.
1) Posture – To prevent unintended stress on your back and hips it is important that you have good upright posture when running. If you hunch your shoulders or bend forward at the waist, it will cause a host of changes to your stride, which increase your chances of injury. A quick way to check your posture is to stand tall and raise your arms above your head – this will pull you into good alignment. Then simply let your arms come down into your run stance and away you go.
2) Cadence – Great runners take more steps per minute than those who are more susceptible to injury. By increasing your steps per minute to between 180 and 190 you will shorten your stride and put your body in a good position to absorb forces throughout your stride. There are many apps that act as a metronome to help you improve your cadence.
3) Get off those heels – new runners often land out in front of themselves on the heel of their shoe. This is a poor position for your body to attempt absorb force. Instead try to have your foot land directly under your hip on your mid foot. This will lessen the “braking” effect of your stride, decreasing the force you have to absorb making your run more efficient.
4) Lean from the ankles – in order to move forward we must get our center of gravity in front of our base of support. If you land with your foot under your hip and just lean slightly forward from your ankles (not your waist) you will be naturally drawn forward into your next stride.
5) Don’t bite off more than you can chew – increasing mileage too fast is one of the most common reasons runners are sidelined. A good rule is to only increase your total weekly mileage by 10% at a time. This will give your muscles, tendons and ligaments time to adapt.
If you can check each of these boxes you will improve your chances of enjoying pain free running for a long time. If you need a little more help, come on in for a session with one of our running physiotherapists. We can do a video analysis and teach you to find your stride!