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By Teo Ken Yang, trainer
Good form, or posture in the stricter sense of the word, not only helps you get through your day without problem (such as sitting, standing or walking) but is necessary if you are into performance sports like long distance running such as in a marathon. For instance, if you can’t walk for prolonged periods without having a painful knee, chances are that you will not be able to complete your 10K (or even 5K for that matter) and survive the ordeal - your joints, especially.
Your joints and muscles function best when they are well aligned in a neutral position – or in physiotherapy-talk, a “centrated position”. Basically it means, when you are in this position, you are most balanced, your body is well supported and you are able to transfer or deflect forces efficiently.
In short, if you can keep your joints in as neutral position as possible, they will automatically be in good relaxed alignment to put your body in good form. This is in contrast to the belief that good posture means you have to keep your body straight by stiffening up to attention. This is because when the brain tells the body to straighten up, muscles tense up and this restricts your ability to move freely.
For example, an athlete stands at attention on the podium and a soldier doing the same at the sentry point. Both are standing erect but the former is doing so effortlessly and relaxed while the latter’s effort is strained, hard-to-sustain, and very difficult to move immediately.
Why do you keep the joints in neutrality? It is to create a balanced posture that allows your body to move freely and effortlessly, like a fluid, and in any varied movement pattern.
So how do you keep a good neutral posture while running? Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you run:
Run tall, imagine a straight line forming across the back of head, back of shoulders, hips, knee and ankle.
As your head position follows your gaze, look straight ahead to scan the horizon instead of down at the road.
Keep a 90-degree bend on arms with a front-to-back swing, brushing across your lower ribs.
Always land your feet under your body, brushing across the ground. Do not reach too far out in front of your body to avoid over-striding.
Finally, lighten your steps and run at a relaxed rhythm.
While it’s easy to describe the principles of a good running posture, it’s much harder to practice them without correct feedback or guidance. The concept of neutrality in posture needs to be learnt and adapted outside a running environment before it can contribute to better running economy.
With this in mind, we have created the mov-inFITnitum program for athletes like yourself who want to compete regularly as well as regular folk who are running just for recreation but wish to do better with each run. The program takes you step-by-step through understanding what is good posture (which will benefit your other activities in daily life), to doing better in athletic pursuits, such as running.
Whether you are preparing for your first recreational run or an avid runner looking to push through the extra miles, the program will provide insight to feed your progress, inspire new levels of performance, and steer you clear of unwanted injuries. The 12-session course is designed to help you run safely towards your goals. It is aimed at helping you put smiles in your miles.
Give us that non-obligatory call today and we will be glad to tell you more.