4 Steps for Injury Free Running

One of my favorite workshops at the Runner’s World Festival weekend was the running workshop led by Altra founder Golden Harper on how to improve your running form to prevent injury.

He shared four simple steps:

1) Run proud, run tall

Think about what it would look like to run tall and proud.  Try it on your next run.  Your chest is up, shoulders are relaxed and back, and your head and neck are looking straight ahead.

We are so often in the curled up position at our desks or driving in the car, so it takes some intention to open everything up.

2) Chicken wings

Keep your arms nice and compact, and close to the body.  Golden likes to think of it as little chicken wings, with your elbows staying at your sides or even behind you.  It’s much more efficient to have small motions with your arms as opposed to big, wide swings.

3) Use your spring

Our legs are a 3 foot spring.  Make sure you are landing with a bent knee and using that spring.  The foot strike should land right where it is supposed to when your posture is correct.  By running proud and tall, you don’t have to stress so much about whether you are heel striking or not.

4) Run a little quieter

Run without music or distractions so you can listen to your steps.  Can you hear yourself run? Are you clomping along loudly, or is it hard to hear each step land? Aim to find that stride where you are running quietly and you will be running much more efficiently and with better form.

Four additional myths about what causes running injuries that don’t hold up in the science:

  1. Over pronators are injured the most (false!)
  2. Concrete is the worst (false! Track and treadmill are actually the two worst- you need some uneven terrain.  Run on anything that makes your body tilt, slant, or go up and down to help prevent injury)
  3. It’s normal to have some foot pain (no!)
  4. Cushioning protects from injury (myth! cushioning prevents the body’s natural shock mechanisms and actually causes more impact)

As you can tell, it was a jam packed morning and there is so much more I could share but these were some of the highlights.

And I’ve been working on the chicken wings in my running.  It feels a bit awkward but I can tell a difference with how it conserves energy!

What running injury myth have you been taught?

Do you run loudly or quietly?

I’m linking up with  SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday and PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.

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15 thoughts on “4 Steps for Injury Free Running

  1. When I’m running a race, it’s always fun to observe the other runners. Last Sunday I saw a woman running, leaning forward as if she was dodging for the finish. Another woman was so knock-kneed that it made my hips hurt to think how running like that would feel. I was passed by someone bouncing on their toes. And there was a clomper that I passed. It’s crazy how many different ways people can run!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..Race Recap: Hot Chocolate Chicago 15kMy Profile

  2. Great post! When I feel my form falling apart I remind myself to 1) run tall, 2) be quick and light, and 3) bang the drums (i.e. keep my arms at my sides and not crisscross in front of me).

  3. Well, I over pronate, and sometimes it seems like I have constant issues. Of course, one knee turns inward more than the other, so I look like an off-balanced freak (probably) to most people LOL I completely agree about the treadmill…it always makes me feel “off” because it’s so repetitive.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted..DisciplineMy Profile

  4. I know treadmills feel like the most painful surface to run on, so it’s nice to have a fact to back up the feeling 😉 Not that I need more reasons to avoid the treadmill!

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