Improving your running form will not only help you advance in the sport, but also avoid injury that could halt more than your running efforts. Keep progressing toward your goals with increased stamina through cardio workouts for fat loss. If cardio is not your favorite part of your workout routine, a few key form adjustments could make your sessions more enjoyable causing less stress on your body and avoiding long term injuries.
Run Smarter with Proper Form
- Keep Footing Underneath Your Hips - Depending on your own genetics, you may run with a foot strike different from another runner such as a fore-, mid-, or heel strike. However, a heel strike can cause issue when you’re foot lands out front of your body, resulting in over-striding and a harsh shock to the rest of your leg from this aggressive impact. By keeping your footing underneath your hips, as opposed to out front of your body, you allow for your foot to strike where it feels natural and reduce the amount of dangerous impact to the rest of your legs.
- Stand Up Straight - You may still hear this from your elders, but it also is important when running. While some runners’ form has a slight forward lean to it, if you try to recreate this unnaturally you will lean from the waist instead of from the ankles, where the forward lean will naturally originate. Relax shoulders to release tension from the upper back and avoid slouching.
- Know Your Cadence - By knowing the number of steps you take per minute, you can improve your performance and your results. Count the number of steps you take with both feet in one minute, an average for an ‘easy run’ is at least 170 steps. If you are not there yet, do not worry! Knowing your cadence will give you a good idea of where to set your goals, as well as increasing your ability. Challenge yourself to increase about 5% every 2-3 weeks. It will also help you judge how a pace feel for an ‘easy run’ versus a ‘training run’ if you are looking to improve your time or fat loss.
- Run More Often - In most cases, ramping up your weekly mileage will help you to improve your overall speed. As an example, if you run once a week, but participate in workout classes most other days, you may find improvement by simply switching a few of your workout classes to running days. Keep in mind, you'll probably need at least one rest day each week. All-in-all, if your goal is to increase your running pace, try to run at least 2–3 days each week.
- Hill Training is Your Friend - Running hills helps to improve your cardio, as well as efficiency, which translates into faster running. Even moreso, hill repeats act as a great way to help you pick up your overall pace. Incorporate hill repeats into your training at least once a week. Good way to start, is to warm-up for 10-15 minutes with easy running. Then find a hill with a low-to-moderate slope. Run up the hill with a strong effort. Keep your effort consistent and don't let your form fall apart. Once you reach the top, turn around and recover by walking or jogging down the hill at an leisurely pace. Starting with 5-6 hill repeats, and add one each week, with a maximum of 10 repeats.
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