My sister have just started
running jogging with her friend a couple of months ago, and last week, she asked me to “coach” them on how to run properly. They always go for a jog on Saturday mornings since she goes to work very early. I usually run in the afternoon, before I teach my Pilates class at 7:30pm, but thank God I was able to get up early last Saturday to teach them.
They are targeting to run a straight 3km without stopping or walking too much. They said they usually run for a total of 15minutes or less, then just walk the rest of the hour.
Last month, I also taught my wife how she can jog for a longer period of time. She was a former sprinter back in high school and she’s used to short bouts of running. She asked me to teach her how she can jog and run longer. I am not a professional runner myself but I’m sharing what I learned and experienced as a conditioning coach at a running clinic.
First, I started by teaching them the proper running form and posture – most of these principles about posture are also from what I learned in Pilates! For the trunk: keep your head over your shoulders, your shoulders down and against your rib cage (you can observe some people running with shrugged and/or slouched shoulders), tuck your belly in (draw-in maneuver). Elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle, and swing your arms as you run without moving your hand backward past your waist. Relax your hands and try to point your fingers (or just your hand) to the direction where you’re going. Some people run with their arms and hands all over the place – these unnecessary movements waste energy.
It’s hard to learn all those things and do them just in one session, so I proceed teaching the running mechanics: when you run, your hip is slightly at an angle to tilt your trunk towards the direction where you’re going, which should always be forward! So you should keep your abdominals engaged (draw-in maneuver) because moving your legs without engaging your core would cause your hip to tilt sideways or rotate. As you run, push yourself from your toes and extend your legs as far to the back and up as you can. Try to land on the middle part of your foot and not your heel. Imagine you’re “cycling” your legs on the road and keep your feet from “braking.” Run lightly, or as some put it, imagine you’re running over egg shells and you don’t want to crack them.
There are lots of videos about running that you can find on the internet (what can’t you find on the internet?), but here’s one youtube video which gives a very good yet simple and brief instruction on mid-foot running:
I made my sister and her friend do the drill sequence in addition to their warm-up before we headed off to run. True enough, they realized how running efficiently with the proper form and technique conserves energy and kept them running a little longer. I gave them a simple yet challenging target for the program of the day, and they we’re able to reach their goal.
Working out your endurance is another thing, but proper mechanics and form greatly affects any physical performance. Apart from that, it helps minimize injury and keeps you from overloading your joints (think foot pain, knee pain, hip and back pain).
It’s not too late to run. What’s stopping you?