Personally I am not an advocate of running being the best mode of exercise to do as far as building fitness for health is concerned. There are far healthier modes of exercise to do that are easier on the body…but it is the most popular mode of exercise as nearly all people up to a certain age can at least jog and it is easy to do. The main reason I will describe some ideas about technique in running is because of the fact that it is so hard on the body and if you make it easier, it will be less so?
Running distances such as the marathon is not natural and remember the fact that the first person to run the marathon died afterwards! But there are many sports that use running as their major way of attaining a high level of aerobic fitness because this is the mode they use mostly in their game, particularly the field team sports. Why I mention this is because when I was testing International players for a major sport in New Zealand I was horrified at the very inefficient ways a lot of the players moved in running and it always surprised me that they had reached the standard they had in their sport. What did not surprise me was that the fastest players and the ones who had longevity in the professional game were one ones that moved with an efficiency…so they were smooth in movement, with very little extraneous movement of the other parts to their body when running?
So the first thing you should look at is to cut down the extra movements you make with your upper body when running. Your body should be upright, your head above your shoulders and your arms bent at a right angle at the elbows and your arms swinging freely in the direction you are moving in. With a lot of people I see running the streets their body is leaning forwards (or backwards!); their head is leaning forwards and their arms are swinging around their body?
The second thing you should look at is that your legs should swing naturally…and evenly from your hips. So look at someone running who looks ‘tidy’ when they run…and they will be usually running past you. There will be a smoothness and balanced look about their running style. You will not hear a ‘clump, clump’ sound as they run past you…it will be more like a pattering sound and one foot strikes the ground as evenly as the other.
The third thing you should look at would be using the whole of the leg to propel you forwards…as most people run very heavily on their heels. The best runners run high as they get great propulsion from their toes at the end of their leg movement.
The next thing is that you should try to run as relaxed as you can and part of this is that your breathing should be smoothly coordinated with your body movements? Everything should appear effortless because it is!
I am not going to cover what equipment you should use in running other than to say it should make it easier for to move naturally…because the more natural you look at running, the less likely you gain debilitating injury from it?