For those of us taking part in the 100 miles of running for Stop Soldier Suicide, it’s probably best that we talk about running! Running is one of the most natural movements that we take part in as human beings, but oddly enough most people aren’t doing it right. The benefits to running are overwhelming, but with improper technique injuries can start to rise up over the course of a 100 mile month. Not to worry, We’re here to help! Below are five technique tips to focus on over the next 30 days.
- Keep your head up. This may seem obvious, but it’s quite easy to tuck your chin and grind out the last mile of the day. Your body has a tendency to follow your head and when tilted down, the neck and shoulders follow. This position misaligns your body and disengages your core. Additionally for every inch forward of it’s axis that your head tilts, adds roughly 10 pounds of impact force through your body. That’s 30lbs extra for just 3 inches of forward tilt! Try keeping your eyes fixed 10-15 ft in front of you on your next run.
- Relaxing the shoulders and arms. This again may seem obvious, but there’s a reason we all hold so much tension in our shoulders. On your next run focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed and rolled back. An easy way to que yourself to do this is by running with your thumbs up. Not giving people a literal thumbs up, but keeping your thumbs on top of your hands. This keeps your shoulders in an externally rotated position and pulls the shoulder blades down and back.
- Stay on the balls of your feet. Most modern running shoes have a significant amount of cushioning at the heel which allows for poor technique (heel striking) to slip by. Imagine that you were running barefoot on a sidewalk for a moment. Would you still be heel striking? The answer, hopefully, is no. When heel striking, the impact forces are sent directly through your bones and up to other joints like your hips and knees. Landing on the balls of your feet allows your calves to function like a spring and absorb the impact without stressing the rest of your body.
- Run out, not up. Oftentimes we can get caught up with getting off of the ground. When it comes down to it, running is just a succession of small jumps. It’s easy to waste energy in your stride by jumping too much. The goal is to cover distance, so focus on converting that energy forward rather than up. You’ll find yourself moving along faster and spending less energy on the process.
- Keep your chest up on hills. Imagine you have a rope coming directly out of the center of your chest, and imagine that rope pulling you up the hill. Our natural tendency when running, especially on hills, is to hunch forward and tuck our chest. Keeping good posture will allow you to breathe easier and will set up your hips for success. Your glutes and hamstrings kick in like a supercharged engine when you have the right posture!
Keep these in mind over the next 100 miles and you’ll glide your way to a good cause!