Running form key to success
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By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
Whether it's reducing time or risk of injury, pay special attention to what your upper body and arms are doing.
Contrary to what most runners may believe, it isn't your legs, but the position of those body parts that dictate proper running mechanics.
From recreational runner to world-class athlete, improving your running form can mean a faster time and reduce the risk of injury. You can run quicker, more efficiently, and with less stress on your body.
"If you run with good posture and you're conscientious about your arms, everything falls into place," University of Hawai'i track and field coach Carmyn James said.
Good form includes running with your posture tall and your elbows flexed at a 90-degree angle. James said proper running forms are basically the same if you run a 12-minute mile or you are trying to sprint a 12-second 100-meter dash, with a little variation.
"You probably won't notice it as a recreational runner, but when you're at the elite level we're at, it can take off 1/100s of a second on a step. That's a lot of time. For us, that's the difference between gold and silver," said Olympic decathlon silver medalist Bryan Clay.
PHASES OF A RUNNING STRIDE
1. Drive phase: From when the foot is directly below the hips until it leaves the ground.
2. Recovery phase: From when the foot leaves the ground until it touches the ground again.
3. Braking phase: From when the foot touches the ground until it is directly below the hips.
AREAS OF CORRECT TECHNIQUE
1. BODY POSITION
2. ARM POSITION
3. ARM ACTION
SOME COMMON ERRORS AND CAUSES OF POOR RUNNING TECHNIQUE
Source: Carmyn James, University of Hawai'i track and field coach
Reach Leila Wai at firstname.lastname@example.org.