Image source: Lifehacker
Running isn’t always as simple as lacing up your shoes and hitting the road. Whether you’re training for your first 5K or your tenth marathon, chances are that you will face some challenge during your running career, such as an injury or a setback in your performance. At this point, it’s critical to ask questions and find the resources that will steer you in the right direction.
This week, our Product Designer and Researcher Dr. Rebecca Shultz answered some important questions about running form and avoiding injury in an “Ask an Expert” Q&A on Lifehacker. We have shared some of the top questions below in case they can help you to hit a new stride in your running routine. You can find the full Q&A here.*
Q: What’s the proper way to land my feet? How can I practice it?
Dr. Shultz: I generally coach runners to land with their feet under or very near to their pelvis. Landing under your pelvis reduces your braking and the shock going up your leg when you land. Improving your cadence should shorten your stride length and naturally bring your foot closer to your body.
Q: I’ve been running my entire life, through high school/college – short and long distance, including marathons. Recently, I’ve noticed that on longer runs (10+ miles) my lower back starts to ache. Once I finish my workout and stretch, the soreness typically goes away. Is this a core weakness problem, or something related to flexibility? Or, has my running form changed over the years for some reason (does that tend to happen)? Do you have any recommendations on what I should do to prevent this from happening?
Dr. Shultz: Your running form does change over the years depending on your daily activities. For those of us who sit at a computer all day, we tend to have reduced core strength, tighter hip flexors, etc. This can lead to a running position where your pelvis is dipping forward (tilting forward). Your tight hip flexors are pulling your pelvis forward and your weak core can’t combat it, crunching your lower back with every step. Start your recovery by doing some planks and core workouts. And stretch out those hip flexors – daily!
Q: I’m an intermediate runner and struggle with long distances because of my posture. Any recommendations on improving posture and getting more distance?
Dr. Shultz: My cues are: chin in, shoulders down and back, engage your core, and tuck your pelvis. Imagine that someone is pulling up a string that’s attached to your head and making you grow taller. Stand tall and proud while you run. This will not only improve your form, but your breathing and confidence as well.
Have another question that you’re dying to ask Dr. Shultz? Comment below and we’ll get it answered!
*These questions and answers below have been slightly modified for context.
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