I always thought running form only referred to posture. It wasn’t until I had an IT Band injury that pushed me to research and pinpoint what was the cause of my constant pain. After countless Active Release Technique (ART) appointments, foam rolling, strengthening glutes, new shoes, stretching, icing, rest – I finally realized it was my heel striking that was the root of the problem!
Being a heel strikers just means that every time I land my heel is hitting the ground first. And since I have been aware of this and working on where my foot strikes, my IT Band hasn’t been causing me any issues. I’m still working on hitting the ground on my midfood, more specifically on the ball of my foot, but sometimes my old habits seep through. Honestly, the biggest difference was being aware that my running form needed improvement.
Running Form Tips
- Loose fists, as if you are holding a potato chip in the palm of your hands.
- Shoulders are relaxed. Tense shoulders are wasting energy, plus you don’t want sore traps now do you?
- At a 90* angle, pumping them with opposite stride (left arm in front, right leg in front). Match your arm swing to your running speed. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body and not pointed outwards. And your torso should stay still, prevent any major twisting.
- Chest up not out and a slight forward lean.
- Gazing forward several feet in front of you. I’m constantly doing this mainly to watch out for uneven terrain or pot holes.
Strides per minute (cadence)
- Count how many times your right foot hits the ground in 30 seconds, with that number multiply it by 4 (4 = 2 legs & 2 -30 second segments). My goal is above 180 strides per minute.
- The higher the cadence, the more efficient you are running.
Midfoot strike vs Heel strike
- Midfoot strike: More efficient, cushioned landing, less IT Band pain
- Heel strike: Leads to over striding, wasted energy, and common injury (IT Band)
What to do now
- Everyone has different running forms, goals, and motivation. The best way for you to see what works is testing out new techniques. I can only speak for myself, and it wouldn’t be right if I told everyone that they need to immediately switch to midfoot striking. But, I do know that it worked for me.
- Don’t give up and let an injury consume you, rise above and never give up!!
PS Kicks are Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit