We all learn how to walk; the majority of us learn how to ride a bike and to swim. Yet we don’t learn how to run.
Previously when I’ve helped people get into running or run their first 10k they have commented on ‘how to run?’ Normally starting with “Is this a weird question but I just feel a bit at odds, how do you actually run?”
This is far from a weird or silly question. Sometimes when I’m out running I just want to stop some people and show them a few simple pointers that would make them feel so much better running, prevent injury, run more efficiently and to be honest look a damn site better.
So here they are, my Top 5:
1. Open your ears
I know a lot of us wear headphones and listen to music but every so often just run without music and listen to how loud the noise is when your feet land on the pavement or treadmill.
Try and concentrate on limiting the noise. This will automatically improve the way you run and work more muscles. If you make loads of noise then you are landing too hard.
Ideally you want to be landing mid-foot to forefoot, this leads to lower impact, uses less energy and lower rates of injury.
2. Get your arms involved
A good test to show the importance of your arms whilst running and it’ll make you laugh is to put your arms behind your back and try and run. Even on the spot this is difficult, you will move side to side and find it difficult to drive your legs forward. So use your arms when you run! Let them help your legs; they shouldn’t be hanging around your chest getting away with doing nothing. Lower them so that your hands are level with your hips and make sure they are going forward in a straight line. If they are crossing your body this will make your hips go side to side. Arms stabilize your body.
3. Don't be afraid to get out of breath
Firstly don’t be scared of breathing, even when I’m at my fittest for example the recent Ironman I did, I’m still out of breath when I run. If I do a fast session I will still breathe heavily trust me! This is perfectly normal so don’t worry or let it tell your brain that you are tired.
Again try and listen to your breathing and get used to being out of breath. A good exercise is to synchronize your breathing with when your feet land. It will relax your breathing and put you in tune with how hard you are working.
4. Stand tall
When you are running think of making yourself tall. No slouching like when you are sat on the settee or leaning as if you are running across the finish line at the Olympics. A slight forward lean will happen naturally when you are running tall.
5. Watch your stride
Just land your foot underneath your body rather than too far out in front of you. So put your foot down where your hip line is. This helps reduce the risk of injury.