I am a runner, and for these reasons I love to encourage whoever I can to lace up too:
- Running makes me happy and brings out my best and most creative self.
- You can run from anywhere and at any time you catch a break point in your busy day—morning, lunch, late afternoon or evening. There’s no class to catch, or miss rather.
- The benefits I feel after running outside far exceeds how I feel after the gym or a class.
- Running is one of the most efficient, full-body and mind exercises.
Over the years I’ve had co-workers, friends and acquaintances see me before or after a run and say how they wished they could run, but…it hurts their back, their knees, it’s too hard, etc.
It is hard to get in running shape, but I believe that ANYONE can be a runner. And now that the weather is warming up, it’s the perfect time to start!
Our bodies are made to move, made to run. One secret that even many runners don’t know is how much proper running form matters.
Much like yoga or lifting, if your form is off, you are at risk for injury. When it’s right, get ready to fly—or just jog pain-free for the first time, which is equally thrilling!
Here’s a few tips and drills from my track and field days that have kept me running injury-free through my 20s, 30s, and even two pregnancies.
- Relax your neck, shoulders, your arms and your hands. Touching your fingertips to your palm and just barely resting your thumb at the bend of your pointer finger, helps keep your entire upper body relaxed.
- Move your arms. To maximize efficiency hands should come up to about chest level and go back to hip level—not past. Also, the faster you move your arms, the faster your legs will go too.
- Engage your core. A strong core will protect your back and build your abs too.
- Tip-toe. Not only will you run faster on the pads of your feet, but you will also absorb impact protecting your knees, hip, back, etc.
- High knees. Practicing high knees helps you get used to a more forward motion. Here we are avoiding any back kick—just going straight up from the ground.
- Up and out. From high knees, you take your stride out, around and then right back up—again avoiding kicking back, which is wildly inefficient, but so many of us do it, especially when we are tired.
- I always skip this step, but I sure wish I didn’t.
Practicing perfect form makes a great warm-up and over time builds muscle memory, so that eventually your stride is right more often than not. Even today when I’m tired I will lose form. It still amazes me what a difference it makes once I catch and correct myself.
Lace up and let us know if these drills make a difference for you!