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6 Tips to Improve Your Running Posture

Always feel achy or sore after a run? Follow our 6 tips to improve your running posture and lower your risk of injury!


6 Tips to Improve Your Running Posture


Here are 6 key ways to do just that, as well as lower your risk of injuries. Don't forget you can also get some hands-on practice with running drills and posture correction at our Kids in Motion workshop on Saturday 27 January 2018, conducted by Andrew Cheong, running specialist from SSTAR.fitness!


1. Lean forward from the ankles

 

Slouching with your neck extended, head forward and shoulders hunched is a very common running habit. In fact, many people walk around all day with this posture, resulting in stiff necks, lower back pain, foot problems and more. Whether you are standing, walking or running, it is best to get your posture just right

 

Start by imagining a string attached to the top of your head and pulling you upwards. Stand 'tall', with your body erect, shoulders pulled back and head upright. When you run, add a slight forward lean from the ankle, but do not bend from the waist. You will feel like you're 'falling forwards' because you have shifted your centre of mass slightly ahead of your body. Gravity is your friend, so use it to help 'pull' you forward.

 

2. Be aware of how your hips are angled

 

Maintain a 'neutral hip position' when you run. Basically, while you're focusing on your forward lean, try to make sure that your pelvis is not tilting forward at the same time. If it is, it may increase your risk of lower back and hip problems.

 

To understand this concept, try tilting your hips as far forward as you can (doing the Michael Jackson pose) and then do a backwards tilt in the opposite direction. Somewhere in between is 'neutral'. Try this at home if you don't want strange stares!

 

3. Activate your glutes and hamstrings

 

Once you have perfected the running posture above, it is time to add some movement. Runners typically rely too much on their quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thighs) and hip flexors (the muscles on the front of the hip where the thigh meets the hip) when they run. The larger muscles of the glutes (the buttocks) and hamstrings (back of the thigh) are often under-used. This leads to fatigue and reduced power.

 

To correct this, focus on lifting your ankle directly upwards and under your hips before taking a forward stride. An ankle lift will activate the hamstrings and the glutes.

 

4. Land with your foot under your hips

 

There is plenty of debate on what is the most efficient foot landing for runners. One common agreement is that whether you land on your mid-foot, forefoot or heel, your foot should always land directly underneath your hips.

 

This ensures your ankles, knees and hips all help to absorb the full impact force of your foot hitting the ground. It is much better to spread the impact through the body instead of taking larger strides and jarring your knee.

 

5. Run according to your height

 

Taller runners have larger running strides, which means they must take fewer steps to run 2km. Shorter runner with a shorter, faster stride must take more steps to run 2km. With the correct cadence (the number of times your foot hits the ground per minute) and a shorter, faster stride, you will avoid over-striding, dodge knee problems and also minimise the up and down 'bouncing' effect (vertical oscillation).

 

With each stride, you may be only be bouncing a few centimetres up and down, but that can make a big difference over a long run. Imagine running a 42km marathon and adding another 1km just by bouncing up and down!

 

6. Drive the arms forward

 

Moving your arms faster often helps your legs to move faster, but many runners push their arms across their chest when this happens, which causes unnecessary side-to-side twisting movements at the shoulder and hips.

 

For more efficient running, focus on driving the arms forward, elbows bent at 90 degrees or slightly less, never letting your hands cross your body's centre line (use your nose as a guide). Keep your fist relaxed and fingers slightly closed.

 

If you have been running a particular way, it may take a while to make corrections to your running gait. Some say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. But if you are looking to save energy, improve your running form and reduce the risk of injuries, perhaps improving your gait might be just what you need.

 

Sign up to try it out yourself at the Kids in Motion workshop on 27 January 2018, with help from running specialist Andrew Cheong.

 

This event is open to both adults and children (aged 7 - 13 years old).


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