Jo Hadley | So you want to run well….technique advice!
physio, physiotherapist, injury, sport injury, physio sydney, female physio, runnuing
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So you want to run well….technique advice!

So you want to run but you keep getting injured or you just want to learn to run more efficiently and better?

Running is like any other activity, there are some proven ways to do it that ensure better form, function and more efficiency energy wise.

If you are just starting out increase your progressions SLOWLY, i.e. do not increase your speed work by more than 2-3% per week. Speed must be increased carefully and is often the cause of breakdown in a tissue.I advise newcomers to running to not worry about speed until AFTER you have developed a good running base of fitness. Just gradually increase your time and or distance and in the beginning you will most probably increase your speed also. Just don’t worry about speed or being fast until your body is ready. Those who have played a lot of sports with running involved or who have past running experience will progress to speed quicker usually.

Also do not increase volume or distance by more than 10% per week. This may only be an increase of 500m if you are running 5k. But over time it will add up, you have to learn the art of patience. The body has an amazing capacity to adapt and to improve but it must be done within your body’s limits, which are different for everyone but the same general principles apply…if you do not train enough you will never improve but if you train too much or too hard you ‘run’ the risk of not allowing your body time to repair from the training.

Training consists of the body parts used breaking down then rebuilding themselves bigger and better. The Running Clinic in Canada has a great graphic highlighting this adaptability of the body with training and the balance required to avoid injury.

Also know what sort of body type you are –

  • are you hypermobile and floppy and often have a tendency for dislocations? If so you do not need stretches as much as you need to develop a strong core and buttock muscle control.
  • are you tight and or stiff? If so, you may require more flexibility work or deep tissue work to ensure your soft tissue slides and glides well enough for good running.

What is good running technique?

  • your hips, knees and ankles (and thorax) all need to have adequate range of movement
  • good gluteal and core control
  • the foot should never land in front of the body – classic heel strike. It is very inefficient and results in braking forces (the video link above shows great running style)
  • the foot should land as close to under the hips as possible
  • lean forward at the ankles NOT at the hips. Running is a series of controlled falls. i.e. lean forward at the ankles and as you go to fall the foot should land under the hip and keep on going with this moving
  • stay tall as you run – imagine you have a rope going through the centre of your spine and someone is pulling you up via the top of your head…this makes your core muscles come on.
  • count your steps per minute – this is your cadence. Better running techniques average 180 steps per minute. Between 175-195 steps per minute are ok. Less than 170 and you are probably overstriding and landing on your heel.
  • quicker cadence means your feet are not in contact with the ground too long and this encourages the spring action of the soft tissue and fascia of your feet, calves and legs..running is like using springs and using the stored elastic energy of your soft tissue rather than using only muscle power.
  • shoes should be light and flexible to allow your feet to be free to move. also light shoes use less energy to run. It adds up if you run longer distances.
  • practice…it is better to run a little 4-6 times a week than just once. Your body adapts to the forces it is exposed to …as long as it is within your body’s adaptability graph (see link above)

Another great running technique video

I have included my two favourite running technique videos from Youtube, they show great running form. Both videos show barefoot running….I do NOT think everyone needs to run barefoot but the videos show great foot functioning¬† and more importantly where the foot needs to land and how it should perform during running…talking about how to run barefoot is a whole different blog! Enjoy your running!



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