How to Run Better, Faster and Without Injury
We all have legs so we can all run – right? Not quite. Running technique can be honed, and doesn’t always come naturally. Poor running technique can mean, preventable injuries, which could mean your running career may be over before it begins!
4 tips to ensure you run like a gazelle, rather than a giraffe:
1. Work to strengthen your Gluts! Your gluteus maximus muscle is your major bum muscle and the major propulsion muscle when running. The power when you run should come from this muscle, however, it is weak on most runners, which means your hips roll inwards increasing the strain on your knees, over working your hamstrings and risking hamstrings tears, which could stop you from running. Find exercises to strengthen your gluts here.
2. Increase each aspect of your running – but only one at a time! It is important to focus on increasing your volume, speed or intensity, but not two or all three at once as this is the most common way to develop long term tendon issues, such as hamstrings tendonopathy, achilles or quadriceps tendon issues. With any training, it is important to progress the load to further improving, however, all aspects of load, such as volume, speed and intensity is often more than the body can adapt to and will lead to long term tendon injuries, which can require months to heal. If you want to start with speed, here’s 3 tips to help you start running faster.
3. Do not overstride! Most runners take too long a stride when running because they can’t maintain the optimal step rate (about 170-180 steps per minute) – this is often due to gluteus maximus weakness. Hamstrings issues, gluteus medius tendonopathies, and other knee related injuries are all linked to this weakness. You should talk to your running coach about analysing your stride length and working on your optimal running pace, and see tip #1 about strengthening your gluts!
4. Address your biomechanics issues before worrying about your footwear – Addressing the above factors will have a much bigger affect on your running than wearing the perfect running shoe. However, the most important aspect when choosing a running shoe is that it bends just before the beginning of the big toe. Athlete’s Foot provides some great tips on what to look for in a running shoe here.
Do you have a question for Michael about your running technique or challenges? Ask via the comment section below!