After a truly inspirational Olympic season, we at Foothills Sports Medicine are more energized than ever in pursuing athletic excellence. After several weeks in front of the television (cheering “USA!” at the top of our lungs), we’re eager to get back in the game and break our personal records – no, annihilate them!
Although Usain Bolt didn’t run for team America, the Jamaican sprinting sensation has motivated us both on and off the track. We dedicate this post to perfecting your running form to be as competitive as possible, much like Bolt himself. If you’re in Phoenix athletic training, follow these five tips from Foothills Sports Medicine to perfect your running form and improve your speed and efficiency while also preventing injury.
- Your head: look straight ahead toward the horizon, straightening your back and neck into alignment. This will naturally straighten your torso to help you run upright and achieve ideal stride length and lung capacity. Also, don’t jut out your chin.
- Your arms: keep your shoulders and upper arms relaxed. Match your arm swing and stride – the faster you run, the faster your arms should swing, driving you forward and keeping you balanced. Bend your elbows at about a 90-degree angle, swinging your arms forward and backward instead of across your chest. Keep your hands in a fist, but don’t clench. Your shoulders, arms and hands should all be relaxed.
- Your torso and hips: straighten your torso and back comfortably to keep your hips in alignment. Your hips are the key to good running posture, so focus on keeping them balanced and straight. Face straight forward to keep your torso straight and stable.
- Your legs: if you’re running a long distance, don’t waste energy lifting the knees higher than your natural stride allows. If you’re sprinting, however, you should lift the knees high to maximize your leg power. Your stride should land your feet directly under your body with each step; if your foot is ahead of your body, your stride is too long. Try to land each step between your heel and mid-foot, rolling the foot forward fluidly and smoothly. Think of your toes as a spring board, propelling you forward.
For help optimizing your running form and refining your overall athleticism, visit Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Centers. Stick with Foothills Sports Medicine, the premier choice for physical therapy and athletic training in Phoenix and throughout Arizona, for more tips to stay active and competitive in your field!