How to perfect your running style

Running is great exercise! It’s a fabulous way to burn calories and boost cardiovascular health. And if you have the option of running outdoors, then it’s more entertaining than the usual gym workout…

Many of us start running as a way to get a little fitter and a little leaner, or perhaps to complement a strength-training regime. But to really make the most of running, you have to perfect your running style. It’s about your strength, your stride, your power (and your ability to have these things without injuries…).

Here are the tips from our top running coaches to help you improve your running style.

Train for speed

The only way to run faster, is to sprint. So make sure you include a few sprint sessions in your weekly running programme to push yourself. This will encourage your body (your nervous system and your muscles) to learn to move with speed.

 Train for cadence

Your cadence is the frequency with which your feet hit the ground in, say, a minute.

You want to achieve an efficient cadence, which means you’re not over-striding (and potentially causing injury to your joints), but still getting a relatively high number of strikes per minute.

The best way to do this is to measure your cadence. Use a GPS device that measures your cadence or simply a stopwatch set to beep every 20 seconds and you count the number of strikes in that time. Then try to improve so you get upwards of 85 strikes per minute.

Become a stronger runner

To be a better runner, you need to build a body that’s strong all over. Having imbalances or tight joints and muscles undermines your ability to run well.

To remedy this, make sure you do functional exercises that work all the joints and muscles in the body, with a focus on creating strength, mobility and flexibility. The standing bicep curl is an example of a functional exercise. Watch the video below to find out how to perform it.

Breathe better

If you aren’t breathing correctly, you will fatigue faster. The trick is to breathe from your stomach, in a really relaxed way (as opposed to breathing from your chest, which turns into a panting after a little while!).

This way, you’ll settle into a breathing rhythm that’s comfortable and that helps you run for longer.

Don’t be afraid of fatigue

Some running coaches believe that when you’re fatigued, you run better. More specifically, they find that the runner’s stride improves. So schedule one or two endurance runs in your weekly regime so you can find the best stride and make it your norm.

Think about your run

For many of us, a good run is the perfect opportunity to put in headphones and zone out. But running coaches encourage you to assess your own runs regularly. It’s about checking in with yourself, your body, your breath, your stride and speed to see if you can identify your own weak points and refine them little by little. Perhaps you can feel that your stride is long, and just by shortening it slightly, you achieve a better cadence and feel less winded.

Have fun

Now and then, stop measuring yourself – your speed, your cadence, your breath and your pace. Just run, and enjoy the feeling of it. This pure enjoyment gives you a boost!

With these tips, you’ll be able to refine and improve your running style so you can really get the best out of every run.

Running is a great sport just as is tennis, swimming, cricket as well as all the other sports we know and love. To be the best, athletes need to have the best coaches. Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Sport Conditioning Coach Course will make you into the best coach any athlete could ever ask for. Sign up today!

The foundational kettlebell movement: the swing
Why we experience increased joint pain as we get older