Running Technique Perth – Why Form Matters

March 6th, 2020 / Running Technique

Running Technique Perth – Why Form Matters

For most runners, the beauty of running is its simplicity – we just throw on our kit and head out for a run whenever we have a free moment in our busy lives. I love how even a short run clears my head and provides a sense of freedom and clarity to my day. Running Technique in Perth doesn’t cross you mind due to the surrounding natural beauty

All in runners in Perth know that to become better, they need to run regularly. Most of us know that doing speed work, hills and long runs helps improve performance and endurance. Unfortunately, the area many runners neglect to practice is technique. Look at the training plans of most elite athletes, and running drills designed to help hone technique and form will feature. If elite runners with great technique are practicing this, then surely it stands to reason that amateur runners can benefit too? If you’re after a good reason to practice, consider that running with the correct technique improves efficiency and can significantly reduce injury risk.

“Running is often thought of as a cheap and easy way of getting in shape, but if your technique is wrong this is far from the truth,” says Stephen Whisken of Doubleview Podiatry. “With the wrong technique you will have a medical bills as long as your arm, and each training run will feel like a chore.”

While I’m not new to running, I’ll hold up my trainers and admit I rarely consider my technique. “This is common among more experienced runners”, says Stephen “but like any sport, running is a skill. Getting your technique right and mastering the skill of running will make it easier and more enjoyable.”

The workshop started by filming a short treadmill run, which was then analysed frame by frame – a slightly cringeworthy experience on my part, as somehow I never run quite as effortlessly as I imagine I do. Unlike basic running gait analysis services offered at most specialist running stores, which generally only focus on the feet, this time my whole body was filmed. According to Stephen, analysing just the feet only gets part of the picture, as good running form and technique is how the whole body operates in a chain of movement.

Sadly, the camera never lies, and while Stephen tells me I hold a good postural position and seem relaxed running, as always there is room for improvement. In common with many runners, my cadence – the number of steps taken per minute – would benefit from increasing to 184bpm. A high cadence is desirable, says Stephen, as it encourages the foot to land underneath the hips rather than overstriding, which causes the foot lands too far in front of the knee and encourages heel striking – and increases injury risk.

Stephen isn’t surprised. “By simply practicing technique as you would if you played tennis, you will run fast and more efficient, but most of all you increase your chances of staying injury-free,” he says.

To help reinforce good technique, we headed to a Perth Running Track for a lesson. Before we get started, we were asked to take our shoes and socks off and to lightly bounce in time with a metronome set at 184bpm to help reinforce proprioception – the body’s awareness of itself – and higher cadence. Proprioception is dulled, says Stephen, when we run in overly supportive trainers or listening to music, as we can’t feel the ground or hear how we are running. Noisier runners may find they naturally run much more quietly by simply removing their headphones and being more aware of how they are moving.

For an example of good running form, look no further than the legendary Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie. “Haile keeps a nice relaxed upper body and his feet lands close to the body to allow the ground reaction force (GRF) to travel through the body without causing damage,” says Stephen. “The foot strike is on the forefoot, allowing the use of the biggest joint in the foot to give a full spring off the big toe, reducing the coupling time [time spent on the floor]. His trailing leg does not fall too far behind, avoiding wasting energy to get it back in front for the next stride.” Haile’s only running quirk is his infamous crooked arm position – the result of a childhood spent running six miles to and from school carrying a schoolbag.

Back at the Perth Running track (with shoes back on), the class was led through a series of warm-up and running drills to encourage good form, a relaxed posture and a midfoot strike. Simple drills – such as two-footed jumps over a row of small hurdles to train the mind to increase cadence and marching, while tucking the heel up towards the glutes to encourage the knees to drive higher and land underneath the body – proved to be surprisingly effective when we put the method in to practice during a lap of the track. While good running technique won’t happen overnight, incorporating a couple of simple running drills into your routine just once or twice a week will help retrain the body and mind. As your running mechanics improve, muscle memory will adapt and running in this style will feel natural.

The verdict? In the three weeks since the running class, I’ve ditched my iPod for the majority of my runs and focused hard on increasing my cadence and landing midfoot. The result? The lower backache I often used to get after a long run has gone. There is still work to do, but I’m happy that I sound a bit less like a stampeding baby elephant when I run.

The Run Doctor’s three top tips for a better running technique

1. Rhythm
Otherwise know as cadence. A high proportion of runners will be running at 160bpm. This encourages heel striking and poor posture. The correct cadence for runners is 184bpm. This will help with the foot strike and allow you to remain in a good postural position.

Fix: Setting a metronome to 184bpm and trying to run in time with the beat to increase your cadence. Over time, a higher cadence will feel natural and you won’t need the timer.

2. Posture
Your posture is absolutely the most important thing when you run.

Fix: As you run, keep your head and chest upright and relax as much as possible; the whole of your upper body should remain stable but not be tense.

3. Relax
Staying relaxed is key, as this will allow you to enjoy your running and not put too much pressure through the joints of the body.

Fix: A good warm-up to loosen the body will help you run in a relaxed manner. Ease into the run slowly, then build speed.

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