John ‘Kirky’ Kirkpatrick is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Sale Sharks, and a former professional rugby league player who played for St Helens RLFC, London Broncos RLFC and Widnes RLFC. Here, he shares some top tips to improve your running.
Your running technique can have a massive impact on how you perform, and can also be key to injury prevention.
Whilst it’s true that anyone can put on a pair of trainers and go for a run, spending some time focusing on your form and improving your skill level can make your running far more efficient and therefore enjoyable.
Here are some areas to focus on in your next running session.
A high number of runners will be moving with their heartrate at 160bpm. This can lead to heel striking and a poor running position. The ideal heartrate for runners is 184bpm. This will aid correct foot strike and will enable the runner to remain in an optimal position.
Good movement is absolutely the most important thing when you run.
- keep your head and chest upright
- look ahead, not down at your feet
- run tall – keep your back straight and let the air into your lungs
- keep your hips straight – don’t let your pelvis tilt forward
- heal from above (reduce trail leg)
Remaining relaxed is essential, as this will enable you to appreciate your running and not put too much stress through the ankles, knees and hips.
Relax your shoulders to allow your arms to move and keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees. It can be difficult to keep your shoulders relaxed as you get tired so it’s important to remind yourself. Occasionally let your arms drop down by your side and shake them out.
Getting into a regular breathing pattern will help you keep calm and maintain a steady pace, breath in through the nose and out through your mouth.