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Running is an activity that humans have been doing since … always. However, the proper form for running does not always come as second nature to most.  To say the least, it did not come to me naturally. It took me 2 years to walk as a toddler. I was never an athlete and running was very difficult, especially sprinting. However, there has been plenty of research into the proper form of running. Here are some tips:


Short, frequent strides: 

It used to be thought that runners should take long steps when they ran, however, this has been linked to increased joint degeneration. Instead, taking more strides more often and decreasing the length also decreases the height of each jump. During any run, a person spends more time in the air than they do touching the ground.  Hence, taking more steps decreases the air time the person spends while running. 


Forefoot running and heel strike: 

The past few years, forefoot running has been increasing in popularity. It decreases the shock in the joint and up the chain. However, not every runner needs or should perform forefoot running. This technique increases the stress in the structure of the foot. This means runners with injuries to the forefoot, arches, or achilles tendon would benefit more from heel strike.


Arm swing: 

Proper arm swing allows for proper creation of momentum and balance allowing for efficient use of energy. This translates into more efficiency and increased velocity. 


Proper flexibility: 

Although being flexible is a great way to avoid muscle strains and have good mobility which increases movement efficiency, being too flexible could be counterproductive. Muscles work like springs, which increase the efficiency of movement or the usage of energy. Hence, having a proper ratio of flexibility to strength is very important to be a good runner. 


Endurance vs. Power Strengthening: 

Although the emphasis on endurance is always linked to running, it does not have to be the only training runners do. At times, endurance is not as important as power strengthening. Football plates have multiple resting breaks during a game. However, each play happens very fast, making power training, such as sprinting, more important than long distance running. Adding plyometrics, powerlifting, high resistance training, and HIIT is essential for this type of running. 


The opposite is true for marathon runners. They also need some power training since muscles, such as the calves, can tear due to muscle fatigue. Aside from this, marathon runners should focus mostly on endurance training. Also, strengthening the hip muscles which have the biggest and most powerful muscles will allow you to get the biggest output of energy and movement efficiency allowing for a better run.


Posture: 

Not only our arms and legs move during a run. Our spine also moves in different planes. Hence, keeping a good posture will allow for the proper use of all the muscle. After all, our spine is our core and it influences all of our body. 


Knowing how to run properly is more important than most people realize. Running incorrectly can have a negative impact on your body in the end. These pointers should help you run happy and stay healthy. Still not sure if you’re doing it right? Give us a call and we would be happy to help you!

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Dr. Santiago Osorio