Our Guide to Running like a Pro!

by Mark Woo on May 13, 2020

Our Guide to Running like a Pro!

Our Guide to Running like a Pro!

Posted by Tia Patel | MAY-13-2020

With gyms closed and running challenges taking over our social media feeds, we’ve noticed a big increase in the number of people taking to the streets to run as part of their daily exercise routine.

With many running events either postponed or cancelled it’s hard to stay motivated and continue to challenge ourselves with such uncertainty around races. That's why, we've decided to focus our efforts on correcting our running form so that we can run more efficiently and without injury.

Keep reading to find out how you can evaluate your form and improve your overall performance. We’ve even given you some simple drills to get you started with help from our fabulous #TeamGPD.

Keeping you in sprint condition...

If you’re looking for big wins, here are some basic principles to get you started.
Posture - Your body should be aligned from the head through the hips and down to the foot that’s striking the ground. There should be a slight forward lean in your upper body to provide momentum. Keep your head still and don’t bounce up and down. Try to relax and don’t tense up, or you’re more likely to become injured.
Alignment - Runners’ bodies should be aligned from head to foot in a vertical line. Hold your shoulders back (no hunched shoulders), with your core engaged, and back fairly straight. Head should be facing forward not down to the ground, so you are looking into the distance.
Foot strike - Where your foot hits the ground is extremely important for reducing the risks of injury to your entire body! The most efficient way to run is to land on the middle portion of the foot (not the toes or heel) with the foot striking directly underneath your body. This lands your foot under your center of gravity and allows you to naturally maintain forward momentum instead of adding a “braking force”. Keep your knees up, but forward and maintain a small-medium stride.
Cadence/ Leg Turnover Rate - This is the total number of steps taken per minute. Everybody is a little different, but the general rule of thumb is to aim for about 180 steps per minute or so. Why? Well, the experts say this is for maximum efficiency and least impact on muscles and joints.
Arm swing - Considered the least important aspect of running form, your arms set your pace whilst stabilising your body. A proper arm swing motion increases running efficiency too! So keep your arms at a 90 degree angle, and move them forward and backwards, not left to right across your body.

As good as it gaits...

With the country observing lockdown, it's virtually impossible for a professional to complete a proper assessment of your form. We recommend asking a family member (of your own household, obviously) to make a video of you. Try to run past them at different angles. Replay the video and assess your technique.
Are you able to draw a vertical line from your head to your feet?
Are your shoulders relaxed and tiled forward?
How is your foot striking the ground?
Where are your arms positioned?

Drills and skills

Andy Pye @trailrunwestmidlands, endurance and running fitness coach, advises his runners to feel tall by imagining a helium balloon pulling you up from the centre of your head, drawing you taller with your hips forward. Andy has given us some drills and exercises to help us improve our form and we’re sharing them with you!
High knee drill -  Standing tall and on the spot, start slowly, bringing one knee up and inline with the hips, and then back to the ground, then draw the other knee up. Do this slowly to start so you engage the muscles and perfect the technique. Once you can do 50, Increase to a walking pace, and then to jogging pace. Expertly demonstrated by Suzy
Straight leg drill -  Standing tall, on the toes, all movement comes from the glutes, and drive the legs forward, keeping tall, and landing on the toes.
Walk lunge - By being unbalanced and mimicking the action of running, walk lunges improve the stabilisation of muscles.
Split squat - Works the legs individually whilst improving your balance and stability. Thanks Alena @training2xl for showing us the way!

With all of this extra time on our hands, working on our running form is a new way of challenging ourselves to be the best version of us, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to smash those PB goals when we make our big return to running next year? Check out this for elements to incorporate into a running recovery regime if you have been injured!

But until then, stay alert and stay safe.


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