For many, taking a short jog down the sidewalk brings about nightmares of sore knees and the loud clunk of heavy footsteps. The constant pounding on the pavement and fear of injury forces tons of exercisers off the roads and onto the elliptical, where countless dreams of weight loss die inglorious deaths every March.
Point is: As with any exercise, form is crucial to running properly. There’s more to it than just lacing up new shoes and putting one foot in front of the other. With a few small form adjustments, you can turn running from dreaded activity into an enjoyable outing.
1. Land on your forefoot
The majority of runners let their heel come in contact with the ground first. The result is a jarring effect on the entire body. Instead, focus on landing around the middle of your foot. You’ll experience less pounding and will be instantly more efficient.
2. Plant your foot underneath you
Along with the heel strike, most runners make contact with the ground out in front of their body. Instead, focus on planting your foot directly underneath you. You’ll have a smoother transition from each footstep.
3. Go forward, not up
Take a look at any random person on the treadmill and chances are you’ll see their head bobbing up and down with each step. The goal is to go forward, not waste energy going up. Focus on pulling your foot off the ground quicker and staying lower to the ground.
4. Fix your torso angle
Running with your torso straight up and down makes it difficult to take advantage of momentum. Leaning slightly forward allows gravity to pull you along each step saving tons of energy throughout an entire run.
5. Stop pushing off so hard
With distance running, going faster isn’t a matter of pushing off harder each footstep. That wastes a ton of energy and leaves you exhausted shortly into your run. Rather than pushing off, focus on landing on your forefoot directly underneath you then quickly pulling your foot off the ground. This will reduce the time your foot is in contact with the ground and save you energy.