Distance Running Technique
Proper biomechanics for distance running is important to maximize the body’s energy and help prevent injury. Teaching proper running form and making technical adjustments are critical factors in developing the highest level of performance.
Keys to Proper Running Form
- Look straight ahead with the chin slightly down
- Keep face relaxed and loose
- Keep tall
- Square shoulders
- Keep the body in-line
- Hands to shoulder height on the forward swing motion
- Elbows back to the hip
- Forward and back, avoid any cross body motion
- Hands cupped but loose
- Strike the with the middle of the foot
- Land the foot directly under the body
- Bring the knee and toe up
- Lift the heel to the hamstring
- Be active driving off the ground with each stride
Best Coaching Point
- Runners must focus on running tall, one of the coaching points repeated by Bill Bowerman, the legendary coach from the University of Oregon.
Making Changes in Running Technique
Runners that make changes later in their career could be at higher risk for injury, but the long-term benefits can make a significant difference in performance.
Adjusting the running technique is a risk-reward proposition for coaches and athletes: a possible improvement in performance versus a greater risk for injury as the body adapts to the new style.
Distance Running Like A Sprinter
Top distance runners need to utilize outstanding running mechanics and follow the technical formula for used by sprinters to help with speed development in training and during critical pace changes during a competition.
The positions of the elite distance runners are very similar to the top sprinters, long strides with a full range of motion from the knee drive to the heel going back to the buttock, then reaching for the ground and striking the foot back under the body.
When it comes to distance runners developing speed, biomechanical considerations are vital to the runner’s success.
Overall, proper running mechanics will help improve performance and reduced the risk of injuries. Distance runners cannot run the same as sprinters during long races but distance runners can develop similar mechanics.