Want Better Running Form?

These are some practical ways to improve your running form on the fly! Just do these suggestions and think about a few things and you should see improvements. This is a great article and I'm in agreement all the way with these 4 amazing principles. Enjoy this from PoduimRunner.com:

Four Ways to Improve Your Running Form Without Thinking About It

Expert tips to break out of a running rut and let your body discover a more efficient stride.

Jonathan Beverly - May 15, 2019

Want to improve your running form? You should first work on developing mobility, strength and balance to counteract the effects of modern sedentary life. But, even with those changes, you likely won’t see much difference until you break out of the ruts of the stride you have now.

Over time your body selects the stride that is most efficient for you. We each, subconsciously, find what works for us, and our brains and bodies ignore other options. Our movement patterns become deeply embedded, creating our unique, consistent running style that a training buddy can pick out a mile away. This conformity lets us become very efficient, using only the muscles required and letting others rest.

Problems arise when our bodies change. While our preferred movement paths were initially selected to be most efficient—given the bodies we had at the time—these stride habits can become ruts that keep us from changing when our fitness, mobility or strengths improve.

“We need to break out of those ruts,” says John Kiely, an Irish performance scientist who studies neuromuscular patterns. “And to do that, we need to do something different.”

Kiely says that after changing our body, we have to alert the nervous system that we have new resources and convince it to try new patterns. We need to recalibrate the controller. “Change proprioception, change strength, change tissue capacity—then it’s got to be shaken up,” he says.

Here are four ways to accomplish that shake up and start rewiring a more efficient stride:

Wear many different shoes, sometime none

One of the easiest ways to get your body to run differently is to change your shoes regularly. Studies have shown that rotating different shoe models reduces injuries by varying the load applied to your biomechanical systems. Those changing loads require you to engage muscles in different patterns, thus making you move differently and shaking up entrenched habits.

Podiatrists agree that wearing the same shoe every day can lead to problem-creating stride ruts. “The best thing to tell people is to change your shoes every day, so you’re not building up patterns,” says sports podiatrist Rob Conenello, past president of the American Association of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

Paul Langer, podiatrist and advisor to the American Running Association, agrees. “Instead of telling yourself how to move—shorten your stride, 180 cadence—just put on a different pair of shoes. It happens pretty naturally, because of different sensory feedback.”

You don’t need a whole closet of shoes (unless you want that). You can have one lighter, more minimal shoe and one somewhat heavier and more cushioned. Try wearing a model with a slightly different heel-toe drop. Or a trail shoe and a road shoe—providing you get on the trails at least a few times per week.

But what if you say, “These are the only shoes I can run in without getting hurt?” This probably means you need to experiment with other models more than most. Just do it gradually. Initially run only a few miles per week in a slightly different shoe, letting your body build the necessary strengths and develop new movement patterns to accommodate a different heel-toe drop, level of cushioning and sole geometry.

The most drastic, and effective, footwear change is to go bare—occasionally. Very few can run bare all the time, nor is it a necessary or desired goal as we generally don’t run on natural surfaces. But going bare briefly—around the house, playing in the yard with your kids, walking and striding on grass—will provide extraordinary sensory feedback to your nervous system on how to move smoothly and efficiently.

“I like barefoot. I think it is a nice training tool,” says Langer. “I don’t think you realize how much sensory feedback you get from your feet until you kick of your shoes.”