Alterations to your technique can give a big return on the amount of effort needed if you take care to practise them over time. Drills are important to learn each technique and get it right before you can use them all together as a smooth running action.
There are five basic parts to a running action:
Toe Ups - It’s important that you don’t just lift the toes you also need to decrease the angle of the foot from the front of the leg. This allows your hamstring to work with greater efficiency pulling your heel up and decreasing the time a stride takes.
Heel Up - When a runner has poor or tired running technique the foot follows a large arc when coming up towards the back. Your aim should be to pull it straight up, fast, so you reach the same final position as with the arc motion, but quicker.
Knee Up – Athletes should try to lift their knees higher, particularly sprinters. This is because it gives the greatest range of movement - and a longer stride length. Be careful not to lift the knee above a position where the leg is parallel to the ground as this is counter-productive.
Reach Out - Extending your leg out straight also allows for the greatest stride length possible. And as your focus is moving your whole body straight down the track, your foot should move vertically to the direction you’re running - any sideways movement will waste energy.
Claw Back - This shortens your stride slightly as you have to make your foot move in the opposite direction to where you’re running. But it’s important because if you let your foot land in front of your centre of gravity, it acts as a brake on your body - this is over-striding.
In addition, by starting to claw back you’re ready for contact with the ground and to get into the next stride as soon as possible.
Perfecting this basic running technique will give you the strong foundation you need to develop a reliable, long-term winning style!
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