There have been many debates, theories, and methods of running developed to improve your running technique. Are you thinking of changing? Over the year’s we have seen a surge followed by a decline in forefoot running shoes being sold.
Runners would suddenly change from a rear foot strike to forefoot striking, to try to improve their running times or reduce injury or copy other runners. Unfortunately, some runners soon found out that injuries still occurred due to the changing forces on your feet caused by the different loading effects on the body and different stresses which you had not adapted to.
Some of the reasons given by runners, for changing running form would be 1. To try and reduce time being injured, 2. To run a faster time, or 3. My running friend said that I’ve got a weird way of running it must be slowing you down. The big problem with an injured runner is that they don't want to be told by anyone to “Stop Running” and so you often see a runner with a strapped knee, still trying to put in some miles.
New running shoes are always an option, having treated many runners owning between 30 to one hundred pairs of trainers. Yes, that’s correct and quite often these shoes are hidden in the house, so a partner doesn’t find out. And every year, the running shoe that fits well, goes through some modifications and so any subsequent pairs purchased don’t feel the same. The different support in shoes can also affect how you run. And with the latest running shoes that seem to assist you when you run - will they work for you?
If you are new to running it could be cardio fitness that is letting you down affecting running form and performance, trying to run the same course faster each week may work only for a short time. Stride length and stride rate have both influenced a faster time or maybe an injury if you get it wrong. But what about the way you breathe? When you first started running did anyone teach you how to breathe? usually you just struggled to the finish line and got told you are just unfit. Training your breathing skills can have an impact on your running efficiency whether a beginner or elite performer. Part of breath training will consider both your biomechanics of how you breathe and the physiology of breathing.
What else could affect the way you run? A previous injury may affect your running form or a medical condition, which could be a good reason not to change form.
How you land on your foot could be another consideration, are you a heel runner or forefoot runner? Do your mechanics restrict your running style? Do you struggle with mobility around your joints? Do you need more strength? Or do you need to build coordination of movement?
Example of a specific exercise for Isometric strength of hamstring and calf muscle at the same time. Holding up to 45 seconds to build strength and coordination of muscle action. Progress to single leg hold.
Posture - trying to hold yourself in a good posture doesn’t usually last for long, where using some carefully chosen exercises alongside your running may assist your running style and endurance ability and form.
(Photo working on foot mechanics)
So, the good news is that research shows that running technique can have a positive effect on running economy and therefore benefit performance and a change in running technique could also help with running injuries. A change in running technique can take you many months to master, so if you are near to an event, it is best avoided.
Is your body ready to change? strength, mobility and breathing may affect your style without thinking about your actual biomechanical technique too much. Are you spending time on these ingredients to assist your running if not it may be a good place to start.