Ever been on a run and feel like you’re driving the struggle bus? Girl, I have. Oh my gosh, sometimes I literally I feel like I’m crawling to the end. That is called a bad day.
However! Your normal runs shouldn’t feel this way! A normal day in your run life should empower you, uplift you to make you feel good, and get you ready to take on your day.
There are three skills that I teach my runners that are small adjustments in your run form. These skills will help increase your running speed and to be quite honest, will more than likely make your runs much more comfortable.
Let’s dive right in!
Increase Running Speed Skill #1 – Proper Foot Strike
Alright sister, first thing is first; let’s talk about the proper foot strike.
I get a lot of runners telling me that running is painful, or that they get pain up their legs into their lower back. Well, obviously I’m not a doctor, so if you have radiating pain, probably time to go see a doc, mmmkaaayyy??
However! If you simply have discomfort when you strike your foot on the ground with your stride, it’s possible you’re running with a heel strike and not a mid-foot strike.
I personally have experienced low back discomfort when I was doing a heel strike vs. a mid-foot strike. When I realized that I had it all wrong and I changed my stride to a mid-foot strike upon impact, that changed my running game.
My lower back discomfort disappeared and my runs became much more comfortable.
So… What is a mid-foot strike? Well, it really is exactly what it sounds like, when you take a step in your run, you land on the mid-foot and not the ball of your foot or the heel of your foot.
When you land on the mid-foot, you roll the foot forward so that it propels you forward and you repeat this motion over and over again.
Increase Running Speed Skill #2 – Lengthy Stride
Okay! Now, how wide should our stride be? You’ll hear many different opinions and thoughts. Some say shorter stride is better, while some say that longer is better? So… which is it?
Well, this was something specific that was discussed when I obtained my RRCA Running Coach Certification.
Okay so stand up. Yes, right now. Just play along okay? Oh, you’re in the office? Well, I didn’t realize. Okay, stand up anyway and kick off those high heels. 🙂 Hey, your shoes are cute, by the way. Okay let’s get back on topic.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and start to lean forward. You’ll feel yourself start to fall forward and as you feel like you’re going to fall (don’t fall, okay?) allow whatever foot feels natural to take a step forward and stop in the split stance.
What do your feet look like? In theory, your feet should be a little bit further apart than a normal step. There’s the length of your run stride.
Did you know that most runners I’ve worked with, their stride is way too short? Sometimes they tell me that when they lengthen their stride, they feel like they get out of breath faster.
Here’s my answer to that. It is because your body isn’t used to the extra distance of the stride. With this new run stride, you will cover more ground faster.
Remember your normal run breathing of in through your nose and a blow out through the mouth. It’ll take some practice, but it’ll make all of the difference!
Okay! That was fun. Let’s move on.
Increase Your Running Speed Skill #3 – Tall Chest
So, you’ve got your foot strike and your stride down, let’s move onto your trunk position.
I see a lot of runners out running around my town and I can tell the ones that are pretty much over their run. Their shoulders are hunched forward and they look like they can’t breathe.
Well, probably because they can’t. Here’s what I mean…
When we hunch over, our lungs get smooshed which makes it hard for them to expand, which then means that you’re not getting enough air!
Let’s talk about what I don’t mean. I don’t mean to be stiff as a board, because this can cause all kinds of issues like tight muscles and your shoulders to hunch up around your ears.
Here is what I am saying…
I am saying to keep your eyes up, and when you feel yourself getting tired and your chest falling forward, take a second, fix your posture, and go again.
It might take a few times to get that muscle memory down, but once you do, it’ll completely change your run for the better!
Ready to Run?
What do you think? It’s pretty straightforward right? It really is. Keep in mind that these three things actually break the stride and form way down. Practicing each one individually and building on each one to make it a flowing motion.
Here’s a tip, practice each of these steps separately, then work on tying them together. You will see a big difference.
Look. I know runners. I am a runner! Once we get an idea in our head, we have a hard time changing up our routines and anything to do with our runs. We’re stubborn like that 🙂
I know that it can be hard to change up your habits and to try new things because you’re afraid to mess up your habits and how far you’ve come. This is completely understandable. I’m not a big fan of change either! However, when I incorporated these three simple changes, I saw a huge difference in my runs.
My running speed increased and my breathing was better and to be quite honest, it made my runs much more enjoyable.
Sure, learning the new habit was hard, and my running clients have said that as well, but what made the difference in my runs and their runs is the willingness to try things the right way.
Give these adjustments to your stride a try for the next few weeks. See if it makes a difference! It might be uncomfortable at first because your body is used to doing things a certain way, but once you get used to the right way, it’ll feel so much better!
Loosen up and try new things, otherwise, how will you ever run free?
Food for thought.
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