There’s a sense of freedom when it comes to running that I really enjoy. But running can be very hard on the body particularly if you don’t take the time to think about what you are doing. Here are my top 3 tips to improving your efficiency on the run and therefore going faster for less energy.
1 – Listen to your footsteps.
How does it sound when you land on the ground? Is it’s a slap or a tap? It might not sound like a big deal, but loud slaps is an indication that you are landing very heavy on the ground. As proved by Newton ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’ the impact of landing on the ground goes back into your body, often through the knees. So landing hard on the ground is both tiring and not very efficient. Instead, try to stay light on your feet. At first, it may feel harder, but I can guarantee by the end of your run you will feel fresher!
2 – Don’t overstride
This follows on from the above tip. Overstriding creates forces in a backwards direction, effectively putting on the brakes every stride and really increasing injury risk. If you are overstriding the best way to improve is to try to shorten your stride a little and increase your cadence a little. Adding some running drills will also be really beneficial, like butt kickers (allow the knee to come forward, but not quite as high as the high knees drill, as your hamstring kicks your leg back towards your butt. You should feel what it’s like landing under your body) as part of your warm-up!
3 – Use your arms, but stay relaxed
Your arms are so important for balance when running. You can use your arms to speed up your cadence particularly when tiring, but it is important to stay relaxed. Clenched fists are wasted energy. Instead, lightly rest your thumb on your index finger and let your fingers relax too. Your wrists should almost have a flick about them as you go through the arm swing, as you are relaxed.
Although these tips are nothing revolutionary, it’s always a good reminder to not forget the fundamentals when running. Let me know how you get on with these, and what it feels like for you. Happy running!