Tuesday night I attended a Good Form Running clinic at the local running store. Since getting injured, I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and paying a lot more attention to my running form than I had before. I’ve been particularly interested in ChiRunning, which specifically focuses on more natural movements that are meant to reduce injury. For as much as I’ve read about ChiRunning so far, it appears that Good Form Running has a lot of similarities.
4 Principles of Good Form Running
- Posture – you should be standing tall, toes pointed straight forward, running with your head up and keeping your eyes looking ahead of you.
- Foot Strike – many runners have a tendency to heal strike, which sends a shock up your leg, and actually acts as a brake when your foot comes down, forcing you to work that much harder to propel yourself forward. Instead, you should aim for a mid-foot strike, using the arch of your foot, as well as your knee, as natural shock absorbers.
- Cadence – you should aim to take more, smaller strides to reduce the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground. This will cause you to run light, and avoid your feet pounding the ground. The ideal cadence (the number of times your feet contact the ground) is around 180 per minute. If you’re taller and have longer legs (as I do), this number may be a little lower, around 170-175.
- Lean – a slight forward lean will allow you to use gravity to your advantage, where you’re essentially constantly catching yourself from falling. Basically, you’re letting gravity do a lot of the work of propelling you forward. You should be leaning from the ankles, not bending at the waist. Imagine yourself standing, and starting to lean forward from your ankles. There will be a moment when your center of gravity shifts forward, and you have to put your foot out to catch yourself – that’s when you start running, and the position you should stay in. You should be constantly catching yourself from falling.
Of these 4 principles, if you only really paid attention to 1, it should be cadence. Keeping your cadence up will more-or-less force the others. If you’re taking that many steps, it’s pretty much going to force you to run nice and upright with a good posture, a forward lean, and your feet landing underneath you with a nice mid-foot strike.
Overall I really enjoyed the clinic. Since I’ve been reading up on a lot of this the past few weeks, it wasn’t really anything that I hadn’t already seen elsewhere, but it was good to have it reinforced in a more personal setting, rather than just reading it on the interwebs.