A Reliable Workout
Running is a fantastic form of exercise for many reasons. There are many different forms of running as a workout, which makes it a very versatile form of exercise. It’s also easy to pick up and get started with, which means it’s simple to keep track of your progress.
Of course, running isn’t for everyone, but some form of running can benefit most people. Some prefer a slow, long jog while others prefer quick bursts of speed. There’s no right or wrong way to go for a run but different kinds will achieve different goals. To learn more about the different types of running workouts you can get involved in, read our blog here.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to running is to ensure you have the proper form. Running with an incorrect form, whether this is posture, footwork, or other, can lead to serious injury.
Let’s look at four common running form mistakes, and how you can fix them.
Mistake 1: Slouching While Running
Many beginners tend to lean too far forward when they first begin running. This is likely because this a posture commonly associated with running. However, while a slight forward lean does take place naturally while running, it should not come from the waist.
Correction: Running “Tall”
While running, avoid deliberately leaning forward. A natural lean while running come from the lower legs and ankles, so don’t force it. Instead, focus on maintaining a good posture. This involves running with a straight back to keep your spine in proper alignment: shoulders back and head and pelvis straight.
Mistake 2: Over-striding and Misaligned Foot Strikes
When running, there is always a temptation to take longer strides. This is especially true when you’re working on improving your pace. This leads to over-striding, where your foot is landing well ahead of your knee.
However, over-striding is not the most efficient way to run. It often leads to the heel of your foot hitting the ground first. This in itself isn’t a mistake as many professional runners are so-called ‘heel-strikes’, however, it is a form that can easily lead to injury.
Correction: Perfecting Your Foot Strike
Some experts say landing on your fore- or midfoot can reduce injury, although this is still largely up for debate.
When thinking about perfecting your foot strike, what matters is that your foot is aligned straightforwardly underneath your body when it hits the ground. This will prevent you over-stretching and reduces the impact on your lower legs especially.
In line with fixing your foot strike is evaluating your cadence. A runner’s cadence is the number of steps you take in one minute. A faster cadence, so more steps per minute, can avoid over-striding and thus help to prevent injury.
Mistake 3: Ignoring Your Arms
Arm swing styles can vary from person to person, but if you are doing these incorrectly, by over-swinging or incorrect form, you could be causing yourself some damage. For example, if you swinging your arms across your body and rotating your shoulders, you could be affecting your core stability, which might hurt your run.
Correction: An Efficient Arm Swing
Get the most from your run by incorporating your arms. If you do this with proper form, you’ll avoid injury while simultaneously benefitting from a more efficient run.
Try bending your arms at a 90-degree angle with your elbows in close to your body. Allow your arms to swing freely from this position. Remember to keep your hands loose and to not clench your fists while running.
Mistake 4: Wearing the Wrong Shoes
Which running shoes you wear will alter your form during running and therefore, these can impact the quality of your runs and the chances of sustaining an injury. As footwear has this potential to prevent injury, a lot of research has gone into the many different shoes we have access in shops nowadays.
For instance, different shoes are adapted to different terrain and types of runs. This includes trail vs road running, long-distance vs speedwork, and more.
Correction: Find the Right Shoe for Your Run
The main thing to consider when deciding on your running shoes is comfort – if they’re too tight, pinching, too loose, etc, they’re not well-suited to you. When you’re looking for a shoe that will complement your foot shape and size, this is where a shop assistant at a speciality running shop will be invaluable. Also, remember that you can ask your PT at Beckwith Health Club for their help! Our external PT Stevie is a big runner and knows a thing or two about shoes, so be sure to ask for his opinion!
Some quick tips on correct running shoes include to replace them frequently (according to many experts, they should be replaced after 300-400 miles ran). Additionally, avoid shoes which are very cushioned, and make sure your foot movement isn’t being overly restricted or too loose – there shouldn’t be too much or too little motion range.
Now that you’ve checked and corrected your form, get back out there! This is a far from an exclusive list of running form mistakes, so be sure to check in with your PT if you’re concerned about your style or feeling any discomfort.
If you’re planning on training for a long run, check out our blog on half-marathon training in the gym.