The theory around how to run well is simple to understand you will see. And the tips that go with it to improve his running technique are pretty easy to put into practice!
Among the must-see running tips, this part is for me paramount. I am convinced of that because I have gone through this process. I personally put a big focus on the technical aspect a few years ago and I saw excellent results. First in terms of injury reduction. Since I started working on the various points of this article, I have not had any injuries. It’s been almost 4 years since I was arrested more than 5 days (it’s also thanks to my method to manage the arrival of a pain that I explained here).
Knowing how to run well is therefore very effective to avoid injuries but not that. Better running is also an extremely powerful base for running faster! Here we go for 10 tips to improve his running technique!
Simple to understand and easy to put into practice does not mean that learning to run well is done overnight. Our body is used to the way we run, we recorded this gesture and repeats it automatically. To run better, it is sometimes necessary to “unlearn” one automatism to record another in the brain. This change can take time and may give the impression of running “weirdly” at first. This feeling is normal and if the correction you make is good, the result will be felt sooner or later.
We naturally head to where our gaze arises. So you have to avoid looking at your feet at all costs! Our goal is not to go to the ground but forward. In addition, looking at only a few meters in front of you tends to put our weight too much in front of the center of gravity and therefore to overuse the quadriceps. On the other hand, it sends the buttocks back and prevents them from using their powerful muscles to their fullest extent.
Be careful with this advice. Of course, you have to look where you are going. Depending on the nature of the ground, especially for trailers, you sometimes have to look right in front of you. But under normal conditions on the road or clear path, try to look 50m in front of you, it’s ideal.
To run well, you have to be right… or in any case that your body represents a straight line. And there’s an image that I really like to describe that. Imagine that you are a puppet, that you have a thread hanging in the center of your head. It’s that wire that’s standing up to you. Looking 50m in front of you, you should already have a relatively straight head. But by imagining this thread that holds your head, it’s your whole body that’s going to have to stand up straight.
The goal is not to lean too far forward. Even if a slight forward shift is positive to maintain the dynamics of the movement. And above all, you have to avoid leaning backwards, it’s like running with the handbrake! Ideally, we want a shoulder line that is very slightly in front of the center of gravity, as in the photo below. And getting there isn’t just a matter of focusing on his position. It’s a sum of details that we’ll see later so here remember the idea of the thread that holds your head!
This advice is a direct follow-up to the previous one. You will often hear that you have to try to be “light” when running. I find this way of saying things a little abstract but in absolute it is very true. I prefer to say that you have to “run with as little noise as possible” because it is something that can be applied more easily.
By running in a quiet place, you can listen to your stride and see if you make noise every time the foot comes into contact with the ground. You can also just try to feel this because a noisy impact on the ground results in a significant shock wave that you will feel in the leg and back.
Trying to reduce this shock wave will significantly reduce the risk of injury. This is a complicated point to improve so don’t be discouraged. Incorporating the exercises I show in this video on full warm-up will allow you to work your foot qualities and thus improve this point.
Most runners have a low running rate and make long strides to compensate. This is what I call cushioning shoe syndrome. The cushioning of modern running shoes protects us from the hardness of the ground with every stride. That in itself is a good thing. But the way we run is also transformed. If we take off our shoes and run, we will naturally take smaller steps and have a higher rate. We then make better use of the elasticity of our muscles, tendons and joints to create natural cushioning.
In the end we should have a pretty similar way of running with shoes on our feet and running at a rate of at least 170 steps per minute. All the details are in this article, if you want to delve deeper into the subject.
Having a bouncing feeling on the ground is important. The elasticity of our body allows us to reuse some of the energy related to the impact on the ground. What is needed is to concentrate to use as much of this energy as possible to go forward and not upwards. Leaping up with every stride is very inefficient, I know what I’m talking about, before I was a real kangaroo.
Trying to keep a relatively low stride, shaving, is the most economical stride in endurance. One image I really like to represent this point is that of a treadmill. The floor represents the strip of the carpet on which we run. We want to accompany the floor and feel like we’re scrolling back and forth with our foot like a carpet.
It’s more surprising, we rarely talk about hands in the running technique. Yet running with your fists closed, clenched, also causes problems. Running with your hands closed will tend to stretch your shoulders and the rest of your upper body. And as we just saw… it’s bad for anyone who wants to run well! There is no need to run with your hands fully open either. Keep your hands relaxed as when you are at rest.
A tip to relax for those who clench their fists? Imagine you’re holding an egg. You don’t want to let it go, but you don’t want to break it either. So you’re going to keep your hands closed, close to your usual gesture but you’re going to have to reduce the pressure you put on it and therefore relax!
The arms have a role of accompanist of the movement of the race. But rather than thinking about how your arms can help you run faster, aim to keep them from slowing you down! Many runners have their shoulders outstretched and high (me first). All these tensions are harmful, they will block the upper body and prevent it from fully fulfilling its accompanying role.
Try to have your shoulders relaxed, low while keeping an angle of about 90 degrees at the elbow. And watch the little video I put you below, it lasts less than 2′. It shows you in pictures the optimal movement of your shoulders and gives you two tips to release them while running.
One last point about the arms. Always in order to prevent them from slowing you down, make sure that when moving your arms, your hand goes forward and not to the side. It is especially important to prevent hands from passing beyond the center of your body. A small inward movement is not inconvenient but if your hands cross the center each time, it will really unbalance your stride.
Heel or medio-foot attack? This is a subject on which we clearly focus too much. That is why I do not mention it until the end. Yes, a very pronounced heel attack is harmful. But there is no clear evidence that with a so-called medio-foot pose, you would be more effective and you would have less injury.
In fact, if you work on all the points mentioned above, there is little chance that a sharp heel attack will still be on the cards in a few months. In short, instead of focusing on the foot-laying itself which is a huge change, try to improve all the details I mention here and your stride will greatly improve, I promise you!
Put on your best running shoes! This last advice for running well is simple and does not involve any reflection! I want to remind you that the body is a beautiful machine. Thus, the simple act of running very regularly tells the body that running is something important. So he will naturally try, unconsciously for us, to do everything to be more efficient to run.
The more time passes, the more experience you will have in running, and the more efficient you will be at running. This concept is also known as the “10,000-hour Law.” It would take 10,000 hours of any activity to be really effective in this one. Proof that we will always have something to improve, I know few runners who are close to these 10,000 hours of racing! I’ve been running for almost 15 years… and I only have to get close to 2,500 hours in total if I count correctly.