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6 Ways to Improve Running Efficiency

by in Physical Therapy and Rehab, Wellness October 22, 2013

1)    AVOID OVER-STRIDING

The position of your foot when you contact the ground has a huge role in determining your efficiency. When you over-stride, the impact of the braking forces can be felt throughout the rest of body!

2)    RUN TALL

Your running posture is one of the keys to achieving good, efficient form. When we run, the body needs to maintain an erect posture and adequate hip extension.

3) RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS

If you hold tension in your arms, it can inhibit overall running efficiency. Try to keep your shoulders out of your ears and keep them in a steady rhythm with the legs.

4)    STRENGTHEN YOUR GLUTES AND CORE

Weakness or imbalances in the trunk and pelvis can directly lead to knee, hip, back and even lower leg, ankle, and
foot problems. However, many “core” exercises are performed lying down which is not the position in which we run!

**Rule of thumb: when your foot is on the ground (stance phase), your GLUTE is in charge; when your

foot is in the air (swing phase) your ABDOMINALS are in charge.

5)    DON’T BOUNCE OR TWIST TOO MUCH

The goal with running is forward propulsion, but we tend to waste energy by moving too much in the frontal (side-to-side) plane or along a vertical (up & down) axis. (For example: 1 inch of extra vertical bounce over a marathon will equate to 1 extra mile traveled upwards across the marathon distance!).

6)    CONTROL YOUR BREATHING

-Use nose and mouth together for maximal oxygen intake

-Find a regular rhythm (examples: try a (2:2) ratio for a comfortable pace where you inhale for 2 strides: exhale for 2 strides; try a (2:1) ratio for a faster pace and inhale 2 strides: exhale 1 stride)

-Take full breaths by using your diaphragm and not just your neck and chest muscles

-Maintain good posture for optimal expansion of the ribs and lungs

If you would like help making your workouts more efficient, contact our office at 865-524-1234. Our physical therapy team specializes in helping athletes improve their performance.

-Written by Jamie Ligon, LPT