/Posture Perfect - Top tips for efficient running technique
The efficiency of your running technique is directly proportional to the quality of your posture. We have reviewed the web and talked to some experts to bring you some top tips.
What is good posture? According to many health care disciplines, good posture involves having a reasonably straight spine with not too much straightness and not too much bend. The more you slump, the more your body's muscles need to work to hold you upright. Poor posture not only restricts the circulation of blood to your muscles and organs but also inhibits the oxygen supply to your brain.
As you run you need to be upright and facing forwards so your muscles can distribute the impact and absorb the shock of your feet repetitively hitting the ground. That way, you’ll direct your energy the way you want it to go – into forward momentum!
How you hold your head is key to overall posture, which determines how efficiently you run. Look ahead naturally, not down at your feet, and scan the horizon. This will straighten your neck and back, and bring them into alignment. Don't allow your chin to jut out.
Shoulders & Chest
Shoulders play an important role in keeping your upper body relaxed while you run, which is critical to maintaining efficient running posture. For optimum performance, your shoulders should be low and loose, not high and tight. As you tire on a run, don't let them creep up toward your ears. If they do, shake them out to release the tension. Your shoulders also need to remain level and shouldn't dip from side to side with each stride.
Pushing your chest forwards unnaturally can be as damaging to your running posture as letting it cave in. Open the chest by relaxing the shoulders and letting your shoulder blades slide down your back.
When the chest is unrestricted, breathing is easier, which brings in more oxygen.
Keep your back tall so a straight line is formed between your head and ankles. Maintain a slight forward lean.
Arms & Hips
If you swing your arms across your body or get them to work on over-drive you’ll compromise your posture. Keeping your arms relaxed and by your side with a bend at the elbows of 90 degrees will help you keep focused forward. Don’t clench your fists as the tension will radiate through to the shoulders and neck.
Hips Your hips are your centre of gravity, so they're key to good running posture. The proper position of your torso/back while running helps to ensure your hips will also be in the ideal position. With your torso and back comfortably upright and straight, your hips naturally fall into proper alignment–pointing you straight ahead. If you allow your torso to hunch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward as well, which can put pressure on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment.
Foot Strike & Foot Type
Natural running involves the mid-foot /forefoot strike. Make sure you are landing mainly on your forefoot / mid-foot rather than your heels. Avoid striking ground with the heel first since the human heel pad is not absorbing much of the force of impact and will thus transmit a shock all the way through the leg to the knee and the hip, eventually causing pain.
Our feet are our body's first shock absorbers - they alternately flex and stiffen as the body moves to absorb impact, respond to uneven surfaces and act as a lever to propel the body forward. Feet can be classified into three broad categories based on how they perform in this role. Are you an overpronator, supinator or neutral foot type?
To accurately assess your foot type, it is best to get a proper foot and gait analysis done. FootBalance foot analysis is an ideal and fast solution for discovering your foot type and understanding how it affects running and daily life. During the analysis a FootBalance expert examines your arches and foot and ankle movement. As you stand on our podoscope, the FootBalance expert makes a computer-aided analysis of your foot type. Based on this the expert will help you identify the best type of footwear for your foot type and running needs.
Most people have a low cadence ( the number of strides you take per minute). When you run, you want to spend the least amount of time on your legs as possible. The longer you take with each stride, the more time your foot spends on the ground, and the more energy your legs have to expend to support your body weight. Even if it's a split second during each stride, it adds up quickly when you're talking about 1200 steps per 1.5km or 1mile. Strive to maintain a cadence of 85-90 strides per minute with each leg.
So next time your out on your run check your posture and stay injury free.