We all know that running has a high impact on the body, but did you know that you can mitigate that impact with correct technique? We asked HOKA ONE ONE for their top tips.
We get taught to swim at a young age, but rarely do we have running lessons. Sound technique, however, can be just as important in running as it is in swimming, if not more so, due to the heightened injury risk that the impact loading has on the body.
When coaching the most common problem we see in running styles is the recruitment of the anterior chain, most dominantly the quadriceps, over the posterior chain, which includes the glutes. We spend so much of our time sitting down that our hip flexors get tight, shortened and switch off the glutes. Here are a few simple checks you can do on your running gait to make it more efficient:
1. Check head position
Make sure your neck and your shoulders nice and relaxed. This will help open the airways and prevent wasting any excess energy which means you can utilise the core and the lats more easily with the hips. The trunk and hips should be stable, the legs and arms loose and in rhythm
If you can dance you can run, so get yourself in a good beat, a good timing, and everything will flow so much more effortlessly. This can really help you eliminate any dead spots in your technique
3. Fire up the glutes
Do both sides recruit as easily as each other? Are the hips level when you step up using one or does one side drop? Look for symmetry before strength and good mechanics before introducing power
4. Make use of momentum
Keep a slight forward lean in your upper body to utilise momentum but keep the hips and (your centre of mass) nice and tall
5. Choose good footwear
Choose footwear by a good feel, something that makes your running stride as efficient and smooth as possible. You want to glide, not to land heavily with each stride
6. Check stride length
Often if people are training very hard or training whilst overtired, the first thing to fall off will be the cadence or the number of strides being taken per minute. This leads to greater impact on landing and it can engrain bad habits, so sometimes it can be handy to have a cadence checker and make sure your fresh form matches your form when you are tired; anything that drops below 5rpm difference begins putting you at risk of injury.
7. Have your technique filmed
Often you can look very different running to how you perceive you look. Visual feedback can be a great way of establishing good habits and reflecting back on sessions, enabling you to compare sessions that went well with sessions where you struggled
8. Don’t always run to the data
If you are too intense about hitting certain numbers then it can take away from the feel of running. If you zone into feeling your running and feeling the flow you can run faster with less effort rather than forcing a lot of energy into a bad technique by clock watching and forgetting to feel the movement patterns because you’re concentrating on heart rate or kilometre pace.
9. Make it personal
If you have access to a fast runner or like the style of someone who runs and who is seeing results then never be afraid to invest in their expertise. Running with efficient form can save you a lot of heartache in the form of injury, missed training and, in the long term, money.