• Economical running:

Correct technique can maximize the economy of running by eliminating unnecessary movement and thus wasted motion, which translates into wasted energy. Simply put, runners want all their energy to produce straight forward movement, and not side-to-side motion.

• Minimizing the chance of injury

When walking one foot is always on the surface, and the forward foot hits the surface with a force equal to approximately half our body weight. When running this force is much greater, as there is a non-contact phase when both feet are off the ground. During running the foot strikes the surface with a force greater than three times our bodyweight. A combination of correct running technique and using appropriate running shoes can help to reduce these landing forces and therefore the stress on our bones and muscles, minimizing the threat of injury.

So what is correct running technique?

With respect to running technique, the most important concept is to run tall and relaxed. Running is equivalent to running light, and this is essential for efficient running. Herewith a few pointers to assessing your running technique:

  • HEAD: The head should be erect and in a neutral position, with the eyes focused forward to a point on the ground 20-30 meters away. It would help to think of centering the head on the shoulders, with relaxed face muscles.
  • SHOULDERS: Shoulders should be square and level. Do not round or swing them forwards and backwards. Shoulders should be relaxed, loose and not “hunched forward” (something that seems to happen as one gets tired.) runners should think of “running proud”. Shoulders should be straight, without actually pulling them back. This should alleviate muscle tension and save on wasted energy. Any forward lean is supported by the lower back, which entails that there is a change in the center of gravity, which will also result in wasted energy.
  • ARMS: Arms should be swinging freely but generally in a forwards/backwards motion. It should preferably follow a line of a “figure of eight and not a circle or a straight line. Any excessive side to side motion or swinging across the body should be avoided, as it is a waste of energy. Elbows should be bent at approximately 90° with forearms remaining as close as possible to parallel to the ground.
  • HANDS: There are no set rules for the hands, only that they should be relaxed as possible.
  • TORSO: The torso should be erect, with the chest up so that there is plenty of room for the diaphragm to move for proper breathing actions. Runners should not lean forward, backwards or slouch, as all of these posture deviations can place a lot of stress on the lower back, interfering with proper running mechanics and possibly causing lower back injuries.
  • HIPS: Hips are important as they are the “home” of the center of gravity. The hips should be square and level with no sideways movement. Hips should be forward when running. LEGS: The leg action should be relaxed, with a pendular movement and moderate knee lift. Runners should concentrate that the leg does not swing through at an angle. FEET:The feet should be point forward, and land directly under the hips which are the closest point of the center of gravity. Making big steps and landing with the heels in front of the hips causes a lot of pressure on the heels, knees and hips and can result in injury. Giving shorter strides with a higher cadence can result in better times with less injury.
    Although the above is a general guide to a “proper” running technique, each and every runner’s biomechanics and “position of comfort” differs. The main aim for any runner is to enjoy the sport and feel as comfortable as possible.

Running inn Monthly Poll

What is your favourite Distance to race?

42km and up
Total votes: 305
First vote: Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Last vote: Tuesday, 21 November 2017