Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Running. What is There is Know Other Than Run?

The title reflects my initial reaction to someone who first introduced me to some running techniques.  I thought, "Running is the most natural form of exercise out there, unless you  consider breathing to be exercise, so what is there to know?"  In fact, there is a few tidbits about technique that I think every runner should know.  As a disclaimer, every runner has a different style of running unique to their own build and body type so take what I've found out about running technique and fit it to you and how you run.

Sit Up Straight!

Or I guess it would be "Run Up Straight."  The point is, keep that back straight.  We tend to want to hunch over as we run, especially as we get tired or toward the end of a run.  This will only make things harder on you.  When I first started paying attention to my posture, I really had to focus hard to ensure that my back stayed straight while I ran.  We're slouchy by nature it seems.  But I promise, running with a straightened back will take the load off of your legs and help you breathe easier.  But if you're not used to it, you need to check yourself every once in a while during a run.  I check my shadow a lot during a run if its to the side of me.  If my shadow is slouched, so am I.  Also, if my lower back is starting to hurt and my legs feel heavy and breathing feels like I'm trying to inflate two iron balloons, I straighten myself out.  Having a strong core is a benefit too.  Your core muscles are what help your spine stay straight and the stronger those muscles are, the straighter you can run.  In the end, I think focusing on my posture has also helped me to have a stronger back and that's just a bonus right there.

Don't Hyperventilate!

This would happen often to me when I first began running.  I would let the run control my breathing and I'd end up taking lots of short, shallow breaths.  The problem with that is that you aren't taking in enough oxygen and aren't expelling enough CO2.  The better method is that you need to control your breathing by taking in deeper breaths once in a while and run at a pace that doesn't leave you gasping.  And you need to use your nose.  Most of us run with our mouth hanging open because we breathe mainly through our mouths.  That's all fine and well, but the best way to get a nice, deep breath is to go through the nose.  For more in depth explanations on breathing techniques check out Running/


Relax?! Relax?!  How am I suppose to relax when I'm hard at work trying to make it through the next mile?  What I mean by relax is that you don't need to tense up muscles unnecessarily.  During one of my first runs I noticed my shoulders ached quite bit.  Some of that had to do with improper breathing techniques (see above) but it also had to do with tensing the wrong muscles.  While running, resist  clenching your hands into fists, relax your shoulders, and leave your mouth slackjawed.  You'll still have plenty of muscles at work for you, but having too many muscles working for you will only make things harder.  Clenching your hands into fists will tense muscles up and down your arm, leading to sore shoulders.  Relaxing your shoulders will save, obviously, your shoulders, but also your back from unnecessary strain and leaving your mouth open will allow neck muscles to relax during your run.


This is an actual running technique.  I stumbled upon it in all of my running research one day and have been trying to nail it down ever since.  Someone realized that the way most of us run is rather inefficient.  Most of us land heel first.  If you watch someone running in slow motion, it's fairly easy to see.  And it also looks like the person's leg almost comes to a sudden halt with every step.  That's because landing heel first is like putting on the brakes every step of the way.  So someone decided that it would make more sense to try and land in the middle of the foot or the ball of the foot, more like a sprinter does or is supposed to do anyway.  It's takes a lot of practice to do this and I still have to focus quite a bit if I'm going to run the Pose style.  Watch the following video.  They make more sense of it than I do.

I've watched this video countless times to get this technique down.  I still don't have it down, but when I focus on it, I can pull it off for a while but then my thoughts wonder and I slip back into heels first running.  So I'm still practicing.  But when I am doing the Pose method, I feel a load taken off my legs and I immediately run faster with little effort.  So it's worth the practice in my mind.

So there you go.  That's how you run.  I'm sure that there are probably more techniques out there that I haven't heard of or explored, but these seem to be the key essentials and ones that I practice.  Let me know if you guys want to add anything here; things that you may have discovered while running. 

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