Do recurrent aches and pains keep you from running very often, or running as far as you’d like? The folks over at Greatist talked to Jason Fitzgerald, a USA Track and Field coach and writer about how stride can hold you back when you’re trying to reach your running goals.
But hang on: These tricks are only for people who have struggled with pain while running — if you are a regular runner with no nagging problems, stick to what you’ve been doing. It clearly works, and changing your routine at this point could mess up your form, Fitzgerald says.
• Pay attention to when your foot hits the ground: It doesn’t really matter what part of your foot hits the ground first, according to Fitzgerald — it’s more about whether your foot is under your body when it comes down. If you reach your foot out before you land on it, the shock can damage your joints, Fitzgerald said.
• Stand up straight: It’s true that a little forward lean is good running form, but it shouldn’t come from your waist, says Fitzgerald. Stand up straight, and a natural lean forward will come from your ankles.
• Use a short, fast stride and keep your cadence high: Ideally, runners will take about 170 steps a minute. The short steps reduce impact on your knees and help with speed, Fitzgerald said. Next time you run, count the number of steps you take on your right foot for one minute, double it, and you’ll have your cadence.
For more on injury-free running, Fitzgerald’s site StrengthRunning.com has videos on injury prevention and an online course on running that can be delivered to your email.