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Training

Improve Your Form From the Inside Out

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Bad form results from misalignments or imbalances that restrict joints, which can lead to discomfort and even injury. These misalignments are often rooted in everyday habits—hunching over your keyboard, shortening your hip flexors by sitting at a desk all day.

Those rounded shoulders could lead to a cross-body (rather than front-to-back) arm swing, which may produce stress on your hips and knees. Those tight hip flexors may weaken your knees.

By doing certain dynamic stretches and strengthening exercises and remaining aware of your body movement while you run, you can avoid or address impediments to good running form.

Improving your running form requires being aware of what your body is doing at all times. This can only come through practice and patience. Here are a few
simple cues.

Arm  Action

Make sure that your hands are coming back behind you, stopping at the top of your butt. As they swing forward, stop them just in front of your body so they don’t swing across it.

Leg  Action

Drive your knees forward, do not lift them (think about powerfully kneeing something in front of you). Try to use
a mid-foot or forefoot strike.

Torso  Action

Maintain a slight forward lean, remembering not to bend at the hips as you fatigue, but rather hinging your entire body from the ankles. Keep the shoulders straight and do not twist excessively at
the waist.

The first step to fixing muscular imbalances is the dynamic warm-up—a series of exercises aimed at elongating muscles at the end of a range of motion.

Walking High-Knee Pulls

While standing, grab the base of the kneecap with both hands and pull upward, pausing for one second at the top of the movement to feel a complete stretch in the hip. Maintain upright body posture as you release the knee and step forward. Continue alternating legs until you have completed five repetitions for each.

Walking Windmills

Take one normal step with your right leg and forcefully swing your right arm in an arc from behind your body, around the top of your head. Simultaneously, drive your left leg up and straight out in front of you so that your outstretched leg and downward-swinging right arm tap one another, parallel to the ground, out in front of the body.

Complete the arm rotation and return your left leg to the ground. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg, taking normal-sized steps to initiate each. Five reps per leg.

A good way to identify whether or not your hips are out of place or if you have restricted mobility is to look at yourself in the mirror.

Hips

Balance on one leg while lifting and holding the other leg up as if mid-stride.  Does one hipbone drop down? This displacement signals an imbalance that could lead to lower-back and leg strain.

Neck / Spine

If you walk through a doorway to enter a building and your head passes through the doorframe first instead of your chest, you might have a forward-leaning head or
neck position.

SHOULDERS

Stand sideways, shirtless. If you can see the upper part of your back clearly, your back is hunched and your shoulders

are rounded.

Backward Lunges

Drive your left knee up toward your chest while simultaneously driving your right arm, bent, out in front of you, forearm parallel to the ground and level with your ribcage.

Drive your left arm (bent) behind you, until your left hand is level with the top of your right hip. Now take a step backward with the raised left leg, dropping your body down while keeping your chest up, and switching the position of the arms.

To stand back up, forcefully push off of your right (front) leg. Keep your arms in the same position and move into the next lunge, this time driving the right knee up toward your chest, switching your arms as you step back. Repeat until you have performed five backward steps for each leg.

You can also perform this exercise moving forward to add variety, flexibility, additional strength and increased stability.