Technique(ly) it's pretty important!
How much time do you put into your technique?
Going for a run is the easiest part of being a runner. It is all the other aspects that we “don’t have time for” that tend to be neglected. Things like foam rolling, stretching, core, S&C and technique.
Most runners put little or no emphasis on improving their technique. If you first learn improper technique, you may initially perform well but it can put your body at increased risk of injury. Basically, you can be as strong or as quick as you like, but if you cannot apply optimal force then you will struggle to meet your running potential or will continue to be plagued with the same injuries.
Many coaches used to, or still believe that if you are running comfortably and injury- free there isn’t any reason that something needs to be fixed. The classic “if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it”
We all know that everyone is made up differently and because of this, there is a huge variation in running style. Dr. J. Folland, a Researcher from the University of Loughborough, states that “there is a correct and incorrect way to run. However, research does not give us a definite answer about how these variations affect running economy and efficiency. This research did bring to light new aspects of technique and where each of us can focus to make improvements.
- Steady Center of Mass (COM)
Hips should be maintained flat across the COM. This deviation is seen most obviously when looking at a runners’ pelvis. This deviation is referred to as a “hip drop”. Energy is lost and can cause a deceleration whilst the runner is airborne.
- Foot strike
A runners’ foot should strike the ground underneath the COM in a doriflexed position. This will essentially push the runner forward. If the foot strikes the ground in front of the COM it will cause a deceleration because the runner is essentially breaking.
- Arm Carriage
The only movement in the upper body should be the arm swing. Maintaining a relaxed shoulder carriage will keep arms and thus hands swinging in a back and forward motion. Arm carriage that crosses the midline of the body or excessive trunk rotation will result in energy being wasted.
These improvements can be made by small changes in your training. This could be a circuit of specific exercises, drills, increasing core strength, video playback, verbal feedback or even just being mindful of form during practice.
The most valuable way to evaluate your progress is to see yourself in action. Why not get someone to video you while you are running?
Folland. Dr J. (2017) What’s the best technique for running a marathon? School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Last accessed: 22/07/2019