Many people tell me that they hate to run, their backs hurt, their shins hurt or it is just too plain hard. When I watch these people run, I understand why their backs hurt, and that running the way they are, is inefficient and therefore, hard. No one teaches us “how to run”. In elementary school we are told to run the 100 yard dash (as fast as we can) and we just take off, all out, bending at the waist to go forward even faster, legs reaching out in front of us as far as possible, arms swinging from side to side. Yes, we cross the finish line, but not without aches, pains and sometimes even a bad taste in our mouth for running. Running doesn’t have to be this hard. There are simple techniques and cues that will make you more efficient. Here are 3 things to think about as you take off for your next run.
1) Maintaining a better posture and allowing gravity to pull you along will make running a lot more
effortless and therefore more enjoyable. If you bend at the ankles and lean forward, keeping the rest of
your body straight and your midline tight, you will be able to feel gravity pulling you forward. Using
gravity to pull you forward instead of propelling yourself forward is much more efficient.
2) Holding your arms at 90 degrees and letting them travel in a smooth motion forward and back
will significantly reduce back pain. The constant torque on your low back from swinging the arms
across your body will inevitably leave your back feeling tight and achy.
3) Finally, focusing on your feet striking underneath your center of mass will make your run more
efficient and pain free. Reaching out as far you can in front of you is actually like putting on the breaks
with every step. Concentrate on shorter strides, pulling with your hamstring and striking the pavement
underneath your body, your hips, shins and feet will thank you.