Now that our Getting in Gear runners, Josh Thomas and Erin Mayer, are properly outfitted in shoes and clothing it’s time they learn the ABC’s of how to run. It’s not as easy as strapping on the shoes and hitting the road.
Fargo Marathon Director Mark Knutson, who is helping Thomas and Mayer train, says there is a right and wrong way to run and using the proper form can make for a more comfortable and enjoyable run.
Here are his tips for the best running form:
1. Run like a deer.
Have you ever noticed how deer run? On their toes. There is a natural springing motion when you run on your toes versus the more flat-footed style of running heel first. Knutson says the 1970’s and 80’s philosophy of the heel-toe roll was proven too jarring on the joints and legs. Keep it springy.
2. Keep it short.
While you might be tempted to take long strides, Knutson says short strides are more efficient. You’ll notice the best runners in the world are taking many little steps instead of fewer big steps.
3. Alignment is key.
Keep your legs under your center of gravity as much as possible. Legs underneath you instead of in front or behind you.
4. Keep your upper body fairly straight.
Knutson says to imagine a string is centered at your sternum and it’s pulling you forward. This forces you to keep your chest out and your shoulders back.
5. Head up and enjoy the run. Knutson says often times runners can hold the proper form suggested above for the first 3-5 miles. But after 5 miles, runners begin hunching over which compresses the lungs and makes the rest of the run more exhausting. Try to hold form even towards the end of the race. Hold your head high and enjoy the view!