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T r a i n i n g

Efficient Form for Young Athletes

We all have different styles of running, even the elite runners. However, despite the large variety in running forms many elements are common. Here are a few guidelines for you to consider; but there are no hard and fast rules, just general pointers that may help your efficiency. Graeme Saker

Posture The most efficient posture is one that is upright and relaxed. Your chest should be out and your shoulders back but keep your hips pressed forward and your bottom tucked in Remember keep your body as relaxed as possible and avoid ‘rolling’ from side to side
Stride length Try not to over stride as this results in reaching out and landing heavily on your heel causing a braking action that will not improve your speed. Your foot should land directly under your body. Your own stride length will depend upon your own individual make-up and as you improve you will find your stride length and frequency increases.
Stride mechanics You should feel as if you are gliding or imagine you are balancing a beanbag on your head. If your steps are noisy then there is too much up and down movement or leaning forward.
Knee lift Many believe that knee lift means to lift you knee straight up, which results in a bouncy, up and down motion, which wastes a lot of energy and puts stress on knees, hips and back. A proper knee lift should feel like you are driving your knee forward, not up. A forward knee drive will result in a low to the ground and efficient forward running motion.
Arms The main purpose of an arm swing is to provide balance and coordination with the legs. During your arm swing, your hands should not have any need to travel above your chest or behind the midline of your body. Try to avoid crossing your hand in front of your body. All motion should be forward. Keep them loose and avoid tenseness, as any tightness in your hands will transfer all the way up your arm and into your shoulders and even neck. Try resting your thumb on your forefinger to resist tightness and clenched hands.
Foot plant The most natural and efficient style is ball of the foot first with the heel contacting the ground a split second later, but styles do vary and changing dramatically is not ideal. Try not to plant your foot in the same line as the opposite foot (i.e. cross-over) as this can result in over rotation.