You know when you’re out running and you begin to get tired towards the end – what happens to your posture?
I’ll bet the old slouchio starts to creep in over those last few miles. Head drops, shoulders round and your movement across the ground becomes more ‘pound’ than ‘glide’.
It does for most runners anyway.
Whilst the legs and glutes (that’s your arse, by the way power you forwards, there are other muscles that play a key role in keeping you upright and efficient, particularly as you drink the final dregs of your run.
As you begin to lose your form, it takes more effort to sustain the same pace. Invariably this means you slow down and things just feel harder.
Smart runners like you understand the value of investing in the support crew – the behind the scenes players who keep the main event flowing.
You’re probably doing some of these already, but today I want to share my top 5 things you can start doing TODAY that will help you maintain good form for longer.
1) Back extensions
Lie on your front, squeeze your butt cheeks and lift your chest off the ground for a few seconds before lowering back down again. Do 10 of these each day, and an additional 10 before you head out for your run.
2) Single leg squats
Balance on one leg and then reach down as though to tie your shoelace. Keep the knee tracking over your toes and the weight through your heel, then stand back up again and give that butt cheek an extra big clench at the top.
A couple of sets of 10 of these on each side, 2 or 3 times a week will be enough to make a difference to the hip stability of most runners.
3) Piece of string
This one’s a classic and you can use it any time, not just on the run. Imagine you have a piece of string tied to the crown of your head and it’s pulling you upwards. Do this and it becomes impossible to slouch.
Your core muscles will engage, tummy draws in (instantly slimming!) and spine will align beautifully. This is THE best way settle into good running form, and whilst you’re doing it you’re actually strengthening up the relevant muscles at the same time.
4) Body weight circuits
Ok so not a specific drill, but more of a strategy. Regularly doing body weight circuits that challenge your fitness as well as strength will have a noticeable impact on your ‘postural endurance’.
Adding in some short ‘Micro-Workouts’ (7-10 minutes) each week will result in an improved running strength within a fortnight.
We have a whole Micro-Workout program that runs alongside the Kick Start (begins tomorrow, by the way!) that many runners have told me they found incredibly useful.
You know how you take your car in for an annual service? How about giving your body the same attention.
Over time you pick up tiny imbalances that left unchecked can grow into problems. Not necessarily injuries, but misalignments that cause shoulders to ache, headaches, or muscle tightnesses that influence running style.
The good news is that these can often be ironed out by your local friendly chiropractor, physio or osteopath (still not 100% certain of the relative merits of each!).
So pick up the phone, make an appointment, and look forward to more balanced and posturally-savvy running.
Think of it this way. Every time you go out for a run consider it ‘practice’, becoming more aware of your posture at different stages of the session.
Running with good form not only makes you a faster runner and reduces the chances of injury, most importantly of all it makes for better race photographs
BTW the Kick Start begins tomorrow. If you need that extra support to get out of a diet rut, and get some ideas for simple and effective body weight circuits, make sure you register today.
It’s only 12 days long, but you’ll learn a ton of useful stuff that will change your approach to everything.