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Are You Sabotaging Your Running?

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The surprising habits that get in the way of running well, and how you can get back on track.

 

By Jonathan Beverly (triathlete.com)

Your body knows how to run—smoothly, efficiently, injury-free. What’s more, the way it runs is tailored to maximize your specific dimensions and preferred movement patterns. Why then, do runners often fall into an inefficient and injury-producing running form? Believe it or not, the blame may lie outside of your training hours. Our modern lifestyles, full of comfort and convenience, conspire to compromise our flexibility, strengths, and balance. Here are five things you’re doing to sabotage your running form, and how to counteract them.

You sit too much.

The most insidious alteration of runners’ form stems from the posture we’ve been forced into most of every day since pre-school: sitting. Sitting keeps the hips in a permanent flexed position, with the thighs in front of the torso. Eventually, our hip flexors in front become short and stiff and the glutes in the back turn off and get weak, throwing off the alignment of our hips and making a natural, powerful, backwards-driving stride impossible....

 

Your quick fix: Most of us need concerted efforts to lengthen our hip flexors and activate our glutes. You can find numerous stretches and exercises for these around the web and in my book, Your Best Stride. Two you can start with: Before your run, step forward into a lunge and reach for the sky in front of you while driving your hips forward to make a straight line from your back heel to your hands. Hold for 30 seconds then step through to the other leg, repeating 5 times. Coach Andrew Kastor calls this the “Running Warrior.” Then, after your run, do 15 squats, making sure your knees don’t cross in front of your toes, so that you’re using your glutes to lower and hold. Advance to jumping as high as you can from the squat position, pushing off your heels. READ MORE



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