In running you learn a lot as you go, but I couldn’t find these things mentioned too often, although they’re important to any runner for short and long-term health, and more importantly for performance. Keeping a correct posture during your run will also have an impact on how you see the sport overall because the tenser you are during your runs, the less probable it is that you’ll enjoy it to the maximum.
An important posture element is a straight back with just a slight lean forward. Keeping your back straight will prevent the centre of gravity from being somewhere in front of you. Otherwise, your legs will touch the ground in front, they will have a breaking effect, and you’ll also overstress your joints and increase the risk of injury. Keeping a slight lean forward prevents the foot from landing on the heel, but on the front part of the leg, which helps with the sprint part of the running motion.
Another thing that should come naturally when you straighten your back is bringing your hips forward and your head straight, which means you should look forward and not down. For me, it’s a bit harder to keep my eyes up because of not being comfortable to see what’s on the ground and be able to avoid dangers lying on the ground. But I’m improving as we speak.
Next hint is how you move the hands and the elbows in particular. You should concentrate on how your elbow swings backwards. Even try to push it slightly so that the motion is optimum at that point. The way your arm comes back in front should be a relaxed and natural move. The angle should be at 90 degrees, maybe a slight less if it feels more comfortable.
Shoulders should be relaxed all the way as should be your jaw, face and whatever muscle you don’t actively use in the motion process. Not doing so affects you especially in long races when keeping yourself scrunched for a long time is going to end up in pain.
Number of steps
Finally, this one is a bit hardcore for recreational runners. You should do between 180-200 steps per minute. The speed difference amongst runners should come from the length of the stride rather than the rate of it. Maybe just to humour yourself and see where you are, try and count the number of steps you are doing in a fast 5k, or at mile 12 when running a half marathon. If they’re in the mentioned interval, it should all be good. Otherwise, you might have to improve your running technique.
These aren’t the only techniques out there, and you definitely shouldn’t try to apply all of them at once, but rather try them one by one. For example, start with keeping your eyes forward and try not to look down. I think the straight back and the hips forward will follow or improve at least slightly. And even if you’re not trying to run for performance, you should still keep your posture right and stay as relaxed as possible because of the long-term benefits, both physical and psychological.
Do you pay attention to your posture during your runs?