Most often when you’re going for a run, your focus is probably on how much time you have for that run, or if you’re taking this route or that. But your running form should also come into the picture if you’re planning to get the most out of your run. The quickest way to run better and longer – without cranking up on your training mileage – is to iron out any kinks in your form. Use these head-to-toe pointer by Nike+ Run Club global head coach, Chris Bennett, for running stronger and smoother.
1. Look straight ahead
Keeping your gaze forward (save for glances down at the terrain) will help you maintain good form and take in any information that can minimise your reaction time so you don’t break cruising speed.
2. Make a poker face
A relaxed expression can loosen up your entire body, whereas scowling or gritting causes you to tense muscles, says Bennett. “If you stay relaxed, you can run fast.”
3. Lead with your chin
Point your chin slightly ahead of your chest to set your upper body just right; not too far forward back, which breaks momentum.
4. Relax your shoulders
When your shoulders inch up toward your ears, quickly readjust by taking two deep breaths as you drop your arms along your sides to pull your shoulders down, giving them a wiggle to release any energy-sapping tension.
5. Work the angles
Bend your arms 90 degrees and alternately drive your elbows straight back (hands almost reaching hips) and pump them forward and up (hands in line with chest). “This can drive your knee lift and increase your turnover speed (or how fast your feet hit the ground),” says Bennett. “All of that means a faster pace for you.”
6. Unclench those fists
Squeezing them for even just 10 seconds will eat up energy.
7. Bring up your knees
With each stride, aim to get that knee up to just below hip height . A lower knee lift shortens your stride, so it takes you longer -and requires more juice -to cover the same distance.
8. Strike the sweet spot
Let your feet land right under your hips to help align your whole body so that your joints take less of a jolt. Try to land closer to the front third of your foot to max spring.