One of the best things about running is its natural simplicity. When you were a child, you didn’t begin running because you wanna win that medal. You ran for enjoyment, to celebrate life and to marvel at your freedom. Running doesn’t need any kind of special tool. It’s just you, your running shoes, and your best form.
The Importance of Posture When Running
Whether you are a seasoned marathoner or an eager beginner in the marathon world, maintaining a good form and proper posture when running will not only save your career but also your health.
For every runner, or every athlete for that matter, the body’s condition is the best investment. That is because your body’s condition will determine how far you are going to go in your running career. Therefore, you should be mindful of even the slightest sores, pains, and discomfort that you get during and after running because for all you know, your body could be hinting at you that you’re doing something wrong.
Posture and Running
Posture is how you carry your whole body. It is the position of your arms and legs in relation to your trunk. Running posture could affect your running efficiency. It could also spell the difference between a winner and a finisher. The best athletes put great importance in their running form and continuously evaluate themselves until they can achieve the perfect form that works best for them.
Here are some tips that you could follow to achieve proper running posture:
- Properly align your neck and back by looking straight ahead and keeping your chin parallel to the ground. Avoid looking down. This could prevent neck pain and unwanted tension in your shoulder area.
- Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Do not lean backward.
Let your arms swing forward and backward on your sides while keeping your torso stable.
- Don’t swing your arms wildly to push yourself forward. Do not clench your fists when running either. These are measures to avoid wasting your energy on unnecessary and counterproductive body movements.
- Find your center of gravity. Lean your trunk slightly forward. A 2014 research study found that increasing your trunk flexion angle to 6.8 degrees when running can reduce the stress that each step puts on your patellofemoral joint. Putting too much stress on this joint can lead to a condition known as patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee.
- Make your feet light when landing on the ground. In each stride, land between your heel and midfoot, then roll it toward your toes as you step with your other foot. For additional force, add an extra push with your toes when you propel yourself forward. This would allow the ground reaction force (GFR) to travel through your body without causing damage.
- Keep your whole body relaxed, most especially the muscles that are not directly involved in running. This could ensure that your energy is reserved for the use of your running muscles only.
Why is Running Posture Important?
Keeping your torso facing forward and your head held up would not only make you aware of your environment. Being erect could increase your lung capacity because your lungs could expand well when you are standing straight. When you can breath without much difficulty, your running stamina and endurance would improve and your body would have no problem producing the energy that it needs to finish, or win, the race.
When running on a treadmill, it’s equally as important to maintain correct posture. Some people have a tendency to lean forward on a treadmill which can cause a breakdown in running form. This can put excess pressure on the spine and cause lower back or knee issues. If you find yourself doing this, slow down. Maybe start by walking on the treadmill and really focusing on your posture. Alternatively, walking barefoot on a treadmill can really allow you to feel what is going on and be very aware of your foot strike as well as your posture.
Prevention of Injury.
Observing proper running posture could prevent you from the nuisance of suffering an injury in your joints and muscles that could range from bad to worse, depending on the extent of the damage. Even sore back and shoulder muscles could be a source of discomfort. Injuries would not only hurt your health but would also become a drawback in your running career. If you are suffering from back pain, there are lower back braces for running that offer sufficient back support, making it possible for you to get back on your training schedule.
Optimism and Comfort.
Keeping your body relaxed when running could make you more comfortable, optimistic and in control. These feelings could add fuel to your motivation, making you feel better and achieve more.
Never disregard your posture when you are running for they are more significant than you might think. It could make or break your career. Try to apply these tips and you would see the improvement in your performance. We have also covered ways on how to reverse your bad running posture in this article.
As a runner, do you consider your running posture as something important? How do you ensure that your posture is in its best form when running? Share your experience below.
-By Joe Flemming