Running is one of the top forms of cardiovascular activity as it doesn’t require any expensive equipment. In addition, you can run almost anywhere. People have different reasons for running. Some run for weight loss and others run as a sport to take part in races.
It is imperative to have a good running technique to avoid injuries:
- As your foot hits the ground it should be in line with your hips.
- Your knees should have some flexion to combat the impact.
- Your hips and abdominals should be stable and strong to support your trunk.
The biomechanical analysis of running
After your foot hits the ground let your leg stretch fully behind you and, at the same time, your front leg must drive forward to make contact with the ground. Throughout the process of running your arms must be flexed at a 90-degree angle at your elbow.
Stride length and stride speed are both important. Generally, stride length will make you faster, but this is not always the best way to gain speed. Do not try to lengthen your stride until your pace is sufficient.
Most people make the mistake of overstriding. The most efficient stride is approximately 90 strides per minute. When running uphill try keeping your stride rate high. Shorten your stride to avoid injury and early fatigue. Use your arms more.
When running downhill try to keep your stride short and fast to avoid injury. This is because a greater stride length creates more impact. To complete the technique correct breathing is essential.
There are a number of ways to breathe when running. Most runners use a 2:2 technique, that is, two strides on every leg (a total of four strides) to every time you breathe in, and two strides for every breath you breathe out. You can use a 3:3 or even a 4:4.
Warm-up technique for runners
You may be eager to get on with actual running exercise routine but it is vital that you combine running with a correct warm-up combining of walking as well as flexibility training in order to minimise any injuries.
Here’s a sample warm-up routine that you should do before your next run:
- Two minutes walking,
- Five minutes of jogging, or
- Five minutes fast walking.
Pair this with some flexibility exercises.
For a number of years coaches and athletes have performed an old-style warm-up before all sporting events. This warm-up has involved light aerobic activity followed up by static stretching. However, in recent years, research has been provided stating that this type of old-style warm-up is not effective.
A warm-up is necessary to prepare athletes for training or competition both physically and mentally. An old-style warm-up would comprise 5-15 minutes of steady cardiovascular work such as jogging followed by stretching.
The stretching component means that athletes would be sitting around stretching and usually conversing so by the time the session would start they are cold both physically and mentally. Using the old-style warm-up technique athletes are nowhere near prepared for the dynamic exercise that they are about to undertake.
The notion of the “new” warm-up is that this activity should be a much more dynamic and focused routine which is particular to your sport. The many drills employed need to warm up your muscles specifically for the movements that will be needed of them in the exercises to follow. Thus, this allows nerves as well as muscles to be switched on in addition to the functional range of movement being developed.
It will be a challenge to get athletes and sports coaches alike to buy into the concept of dynamic warm-ups. However, it will make the athlete’s performance more streamlined and powerful.
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