By Stephanie Jameson - For many people, form is the last thing on their mind when covering half or full marathon distances - we assume: Hey, I can walk properly, so I can run properly, too!
Well... that's not always (or often) the case. Improper form can lead to a slow pace, injury, and a less enjoyable running experience. So, how should we run? Let's break it down!
Lean - Look - Swing - Strike
When you run, you should lean forward a few degrees - enough that you feel like you'd fall on your face if you don't quickly put your foot out in front of you. This should happen from shoulder to ankle, not just the top half of your body. Think forward lean = forward momentum!
Keep your eyes focused on the horizon to ensure you aren't tilting your head too far up (hyperextending your back) or too far down (closing off your chest/lungs). A level chin allows for proper breath and efficient posture.
Arms should be at a 90 degree angle and move front to back - lateral movement across your body will slow you down. Think of swinging from your shoulders and allow your elbows to come as far back as they need to in order for your hand to line up with your hips.
Most experts agree that a forefoot strike is more effective than a heel or mid foot strike, though this can be difficult to achieve right off the bat. The best thing to aim for is a foot strike that lands under your body rather than in front of it. If your foot is landing in front of you, it's acting as a brake (and asking for injury). The more underneath your body you can get, the better. The forward lean helps with this! Try these techniques on your next run!