S.If you’re scrolling through the reels of runfluencers on Instagram, all you have to do is remember to pull your elbows back, knees up, land on your front foot, increase your cadence, and lean forward slightly. It’s easy to think that becoming a faster runner is easy.
Simple enough, right? not exactly.that’s not all a lot There are lots of tips to think about while running, but at the end of the day, even just one change in running form is much more time consuming than just deciding to change it on the fly.
“It’s neuromuscular that makes your body learn something new,” running coaches say Eric Orton. “So for change to happen, the brain has to learn it first and then send that signal to the body, and that takes time.”
In a social media-driven culture that prioritizes lifehacks, quick results, and optimization, the idea that improving running form takes months instead of days makes it very difficult to implement form modifications, especially in running. Therefore, it may be a difficult drug to swallow. It’s not easier than squats for example.
“It’s not like standing in front of a mirror doing squats and trying to do those eight squats perfectly,” he says. Kate Baird, MA, ACSM-CEP, CSCS, Exercise physiologist at New York Special Surgery Hospital. “Running is repetitive, green, interactive, and while you’re running you’re usually doing other things, and it’s a natural human behavior that we learn at an early age. That’s why it’s very difficult to change your running form, especially in real time.”
It’s difficult, but not impossible. But what if changing your running form isn’t as easy as just doing it? do would you improve it? What exactly is good running form?
Why it’s so hard to change running form
If you decide you want to focus on striking with your forefoot when you go out for a run, you can probably do that for a while. But you’re more likely to forget about it after a few minutes because you have to think actively about doing it instead of just programming it into a form.
Even if you can maintain your form cue while running, your body may not be able to handle the miles using your new technique. “If you go from heel strike to midfoot strike, your body may not be developed to withstand repetitive load changes,” Baird says. “We’re going to be highlighting different areas that we’re not used to highlighting. We’re a chain of linked movements, so if we just change one link, the others stay the same.” You can’t expect that.”
Orton says trying to change running form is like trying to write with your non-dominant hand, which in theory you know how to do, but it’s very difficult at first. . Baird cites running uphill as an example, which inevitably changes running form. If you’ve never run on a hill before, running all the way uphill can be a bit painful.
Another factor is that running form is difficult to measure. Aside from cadence, which can be tracked by most running watches, other form adjustments require outside expert oversight. (Of course, running easier and faster is a good sign that your form is improving.)
Is your running form flat? need to change?
Whether runners should actively work on their form to be more efficient is a slightly more complicated question. Foot strikes in particular, perhaps the most hotly debated issue in running form, Baird never recommends runners change their foot strikes, except for injury-related issues. He also said there was no good research to suggest changing foot strikes. The foot strike type causes less injury compared to other types. (in fact This one I’ve found that a runner’s natural stride is usually the best and there’s no need to try to change it. )
On the other hand, we know what it takes to run efficiently in general (high cadence, landing below the hips, strong launch), and working on this is beneficial for any runner. says Orton. “People often tell me I’m not competitive, so I don’t need to learn to change my form,” he says. “But they are the most important people who need to change this situation. They are probably slow to act and spend more time on the ground, so they will benefit from a health perspective.”
And more efficient form can help balance what he calls muscles, Orton says. “When you use your body the way it should, you take away the dominance of one muscle and the dormancy of another,” he says. “We remove the strain of tugs and pulls that runners have been led to assume are normal.”
For Baird, the answer is helping runners grow. of Best running form their We will suggest the best running form according to your goals and body. “Good running form is unique to you,” she says. “Each person has their own kinematic chain with their own stiffness, weaknesses, strengths, stability issues and load issues, so all of these have to be taken into account.”
For Baird, if it makes sense to work with a runner towards a specific form goal, it usually comes down to keeping the runner from overstepping their stride (which usually results in less heel landing). (but that’s not the focus), she says. ), and increasing turnover goes hand in hand and can improve overall performance while reducing injury risk.
The bottom line: As long as you have a reason to do so, such as performance goals or reducing your risk of injury, it’s worth working towards running better (with proper guidance).but even if your Even your best form may not look like the runners you see on Instagram, but that’s okay.
how to actually do
Want to fine-tune your running technique? Follow the guidelines from Baird and Orton.
“Having a solid cross-training program is the best ‘hack,'” says Baird. Whether or not you specifically work on form, strength training should be part of a runner’s routine. “Strength training improves muscle stiffness, which improves absorption and repulsion from the ground,” Baird says. “It also helps build strength, which makes running easier and more economical. If you have a specific form goal, a coach or personal trainer can help you focus on supporting exercises while you run.
While it may be tempting to try to optimize your form for the big race, Orton cautions against this, as putting new demands on your body while increasing mileage can be overkill. do. “Don’t expose your muscles to that kind of change while you’re doing a lot of exercise,” he says. The ideal time to work on your form is actually the off-season between training cycles, when you can focus on strength training and run less. But according to Baird, the beginning of a long marathon training cycle (while the mileage is still moderate) is a good time to tackle a new form cue or two.
Remember, less is more
“If you start thinking too much, it just clutters your brain,” says Orton. He can choose one form cue to work on at a time and work on it in small increments, such as during the warm-up mile. Orton suggests that just as she dedicates certain days to hills, speed work, or tempo miles, she can also dedicate one day during the week to a “good day.”
Baird tells runners to take intervals. “Let’s say it’s a three-mile run. I would say at the beginning of each mile, think about the toe-off cue we practiced for a minute, and then let it go,” she says. Masu. “And if you keep at it, which is great, we’re going to work that into your running. Then over the weeks, weeks, maybe months, it’s going to be It should start to become part of your form.”
When working on turnovers, she asks runners to create playlists containing three songs at their target cadence. “When they come, try to run in that rhythm,” she says. “Even if they’re gone, try to keep it. But don’t think about it.”
focus on speed
“Normally, the faster you run, the better your cadence and the stiffer your feet,” says Orton. He focuses on maintaining the best form and recommends incorporating short sprints (or strides) into your running.
Orton wants more runners to feel like the sport is more like a martial art where you slowly win belts. “We’re obsessed with hacking and hijacking things right away,” says Baird. “It never works, because your body is made up of cells that change over time.” As the saying goes, slow and steady will eventually get you faster and race can win