Running can be great exercise, but it can also cause runners a great deal of unwanted pain.Most runners who experience pain from running don’t have medical conditions. Instead, many people are actually causing themselves pain by having poor form while running. It isn’t the running that is the problem; it’s the way that you’re doing it. Whether you run on the track, at the park, or on the treadmill; running without proper form is bad for your body and can cause injury, pain and stress on the body.
Running sounds simple, right? It’s just walking at a faster pace and putting one foot in front of the other! Not so simple. Running is actually quite complicated when you are considering how to find the right form and balance. Without the proper form, you’ll wind up with injuries and pain. Professionals work hard studying the best form to ensure no injuries, as well as to increase their performance, so it is obviously a very important thing to think about.
Here are some of the top trainer recommended tips to help you stay on your feet and feeling good while running.
Proper Foot Positioning
First, you need to pay attention to what your feet are doing. Your feet are carrying you while running, and they are one of the most important parts to proper running style. Not planting your feet properly will most certainly wind up in disaster. Runners actually have quite a heated debate about where to plant your feet because everyone’s form is slightly different, but there is a right way to do it. To land with the smallest amount of pressure (which will save your knees in the long run), you will want to land right in the middle of your foot. This will also help you to push after each step off the ground easily. You do not want to land on your heel. Next, you want to roll your foot toward your toes, and spring off the ground. You want to try to land quietly and softly. If you can hear the beating of your feet on the ground, you are doing something wrong.
Head and Neck Positioning
While running, you want to keep your head evenly lifted over your backbone. While it may feel like it is necessary while running long distances to rest your chin on your chest, this can cause neck pain and will make breathing difficult. If your head is balanced and positioned in the right way, you will be running more efficiently and you will get the most out of each step.
Hands and Arms
Next, be sure that you are keeping your arms relatively still while running. We’ve all seen them- the runners who flail their arms around while running which looks like a comedy routine. If you are doing too much with your arms, you are wasting muscle strength and energy. This also causes a problem with efficiency. You want to make sure your arms gently move back and forth at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your fists are not clenched, which also tires out your muscles. Try to maintain a relaxed form and run with slightly open palms.
Similarly, you want to ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and at ease. Many runners, unbeknownst to them, keep a stiff upper back and shoulder area, which can cause problems with sore necks, shoulder pain, or headaches after running. While running, be sure to breathe deep, which will help your shoulders remain relaxed. If you are feeling tense, roll your shoulders backwards in circles. You want to be sure your shoulders are positioned directly over your hips and that you are not slouching. Besides being inefficient, this will cause pain throughout your back, neck, and shoulders.
A number of runners have back pain, and it is from a strange source- your stomach. It is important that while running you strengthen your stomach or abdominal area. Think as if you are trying to pull your belly button through your back, strengthening your core. This will help your back to remain stable and will help you lessen the pain that you normally felt in your lower back after a good run.
These are just five of the easy to accomplish tips to make sure you are running with proper form. This will ease pain that you experience after running, and by heeding these warnings, you will notice less pain immediately. You’ll be able to run faster, longer, and will suffer none of the unnecessary risk involved with a poor running style.