Learn to run: how to improve your running technique
Many times we remind you how important it is to have a proper running technique, but perhaps you are not entirely clear on the concept or what we really mean.
In this article we are going to tell you what running technique is , what factors influence it to be good, the benefits of improving it and some exercises to achieve it. Let’s go there!
What is the Race Technique?
The running technique is the way we have to execute the movements involved in the running gesture. A good running technique would be the ideal model that a runner can carry out in their gait cycle from a biomechanical, motor and energy point of view.
The best runners are not those who run well by nature or are the best physically equipped. You don’t have to be very slim or have very long legs. The best are those who economize their training to the maximum and run with a goal, without losing their perseverance and determination.
That’s the good news in running technique, which can be learned and (of course) improved . If you train your technique, the benefits you will obtain will be multiple and you will optimize your performance as a runner to the maximum.
Why is Running Technique So Important?
Not only can good running technique make the difference between running with or without pain, it can also help you improve your marks. In fact, according to a study published in the NCBI on injuries in regular runners, poor running technique can be the cause of a runner’s injury in up to 72% of cases .
Unfortunately, there are popular beliefs that lead us to think that running leaning the body a lot forward and supporting the balls of the feet helps us run faster. Or that lengthening the stride to the maximum when we run will make us get better marks.
If you’ve just started running, try not to make these mistakes early on . It will not be easy to run well from the beginning, but you can try to avoid doing it wrong or picking up hobbies that will cost you a lot to remove later.
Benefits of Improving Running Technique
- Reduce the risk of any type of injury
- Get faster and improve performance
- Save energy as much as possible by training
- Delaying the onset of muscle fatigue as much as possible
- Increase the agility and coordination of our body
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our movements
- Acquire a more comfortable and elegant posture when running
What Elements Are Part of the Running Technique?
The three principles to keep in mind are: relaxed running, natural running, and upright running. For a running technique to be correct, several factors come into play, such as:
- Breathing: correct breathing is essential for running efficiently. There are several types of breathing, although the complete or diagrammatic is usually the most advisable for runners. In another article we explain at length How to Breathe Correctly While Running .
- Posture: good posture starts from head to toe: gaze, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. All is important. In another article we tell you What is the Correct Posture for Running .
- The Type of Tread: your running is important. Therefore, when choosing your first running shoes, you should take a tread test and find out if you are a pronator, supinator or neutral runner.
- Cadence: it is the number of steps we take per minute. It is a concept closely linked to the width of the stride. It is said that the ideal cadence is close to 180 bpm… In this other article we will tell you in detail what it is, how to measure and how to improve your cadence.
- The Flexibility and Strength of your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. The more you strengthen your body and the more you widen your range of movements, improving your flexibility, the more efficiency and elegance you will achieve in your technique. If you want to do a good Strength Training for Runners you are interested in this other article.
How Can You Improve Running Technique?
The improvement of the technique is achieved by carrying out specific training for this purpose. To do this, the runner must perform high-impact exercises that involve intense work and significant muscle wear.
Before you start, remember that you should always take time to do a full warm-up and finish with a good stretching session . This way your body will be prepared to undergo this intense work.
If you can, opt to do your technique workouts on soft surfaces. Your joints will appreciate that the impact is minimized on surfaces such as dirt or grass . Both have a high degree of energy absorption.
It is not recommended that you do specific exercises to improve your technique after a regular workout or after having recently attended a race. Being hard work can overload your body too much and even lead to the appearance of an injury .
What Kind of Runner Can Improve Your Running Technique?
If you’ve just started running, you don’t need to focus exclusively on improving your technique. Try to be clear about what vices you should not take from the beginning and improve your muscle strength , especially in the lower body.
As you progress, you can include a day of technique training in your training routine.
If, on the other hand, you have been running for a long time and want to improve both your marks and your technique, you should dedicate more workouts.
When is it not advisable to train running technique?
Later we will list a series of basic exercises to train running technique. But first, let’s see in which cases it is not advisable to do this type of training:
- You feel joint or muscle discomfort
- You have an injury or are recovering from one
- You notice signs of plantar fasciitis or tibial periostitis
- You are mentally or physically exhausted
- Your shoes are very worn from use
- You haven’t been fed or hydrated enough
If you are not sure if you can train your technique or not, ask your sports doctor.
In fact, having the help and advice of a personal trainer is ideal in these cases.
Depending on your goals as a runner and your level, it will recommend the exercises that best suit your needs.
How many days a week is it advisable to train the technique?
The number of days that we must train the technique per week will depend on the total volume of times we go out for a run during that same period.
What experts usually recommend is that one technique training be included for every three normals , at most.
This would be the ideal proportion for the runner to assimilate learning and progressively adapt to changes.
Exercises to Improve Your Running Technique
These are some of the most basic that can be done on a straight of approximately 40-50 meters:
Forward Skipping (Low, Medium, and High): Stride by raising your knees along with a vigorous stroke.
Alternate Impulses: jump forward raising the knee to horizontal. The foot prepares to give a powerful push.
One leg skipping (alternating): the same exercise forward but lifting one leg and then the other.
Ankle Thrusts: jump forward with very little bending of the knees and increasing the momentum from the ankles.
Heels to gluteus : run raising the heels to touch the gluteus (without raising the knees). This exercise can also be performed on one leg and alternately.
Skipping backwards (low, medium and high): the same exercise as the first one, but from the back instead of forward.
Chips or Multi Jumps : take very powerful strides forward.
Side Running and Side Jumps: running sideways crossing the legs or making energetic jumps sideways crossing the arms. It would be done first to one side and then the other.
In this video we can see very well illustrated many of the basic exercises that we propose to start training your running technique.Take a look and go ahead and try them!