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Aoife O’Neill, Outsider’s consultant Chartered Physiotherapist takes us through a few simple steps to improve your running.
Improving your running technique even slightly will help you run faster and for longer, as well as helping to reduce your risk of injury. By making your running technique more efficient you will reduce your feets workload while making the whole experience more enjoyable. Not everyone is blessed with a naturally good technique but we all can improve. Here are my top five tips to help make you a better runner.
When you are running try to land with your foot placed underneath your hip and not too far out in front (called overstriding) or behind your hip. This allows your foot to strike the ground under your centre of mass. This will help the muscles and tendons of the pelvis and legs to absorb forces better.
In order to help you with foot placement, stand stationary with your feet under your hips and FALL FORWARD. At a certain point, gravity will make you put your foot in front of you to prevent a fall and then run forward from there in your natural foot placement. Another tip that might help you with placement is to try to shorten your running stride and see does your foot placement feel better for you.
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According to scientific research, foot placement is MORE important than foot strike patterns in preventing injury so look at point number one first. Regarding foot strike, runners tend to use all parts of their feet to strike the ground with, heel, midfoot and forefoot/toes. Some say midfoot and forefoot striking is advantageous to injury prevention and speed. It is more complicated than that, and heel strikers with good foot placement run at an elite level and keep injury free. So, strike where you strike, but make sure you don’t overstride. If you are a heel striker or a forefoot or toe-striker, aim to include more of your midfoot for a happy medium and see if it feels better.
Keep your knees in line over your feet and under your hips when you run. Your kneecaps need to be in line with the middle of your foot, not falling in towards the middle as you run. Your heels should not be clicking your opposite leg behind. Keep a little bend in your knees and aim to strike the foot on the ground lightly and softly while continuing to run forward.
Most importantly enjoy!
Aoife O’Neill is an experienced Chartered Physiotherapist with a Masters in Manual Physiotherapy and a Diploma in Psychology. She also is a current international tennis player, ex-triathlete, Pilates teacher, outdoor enthusiast, water lover, and loves sharing her passion for health and lifestyle. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and holds her clinics at BodyMed.
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