How to improve your running technique with and without a buggy

Running is the one sport that people think that they don’t have to worry about technique, running is simple isn’t it, you just put your trainers on and run; if only that was true.  By improving your running technique you can improve as a runner by running more efficiently and subsequently running faster. Poor technique can lead to you becoming tired more easily as you are not running efficiently and this can lead to injury if you have bad form.

As a running coach I do not believe in changing a runner’s running style, we all have our own unique way of running and there is no perfect running form.  However, I do believe that by making the following small adjustments you can become a better runner.

Running with a buggy uses different muscles and there is a different technique needed when running with a buggy.  The main thing and the most important thing in my opinion is think first of the safety of your child and not your run.  You need to be in control of your buggy at all times; if you run one handed with a buggy you are not in control of the buggy and you may put your baby at risk.  Run at an easy pace and it is important that you are running comfortably with the buggy making sure you adjust the handles of the buggy to fit your height.

Posture                    

You should run tall and in the direction that you are travelling in, your shoulders should be relaxed, back and down, try running with your shoulders bunched up to your ears, this should feel uncomfortable and unnatural.  You would soon tire if you continued to run like this over any distance. Relax your shoulders and keep your head high, look ahead of you with your jaw relaxed and your mouth open.  Run from your ankles and not from your hips, imagine that you have a bowl of water in your pelvis; the idea is that you don’t spill the water so keep your hips stable and balanced when running, try not to leak any water out of the bowl.

Arms                         

To see how important arms are when you run  try running 10m with your arms above your head or behind your back. By doing this hopefully you will see how out of control and uncoordinated you may feel and how your arms balance you.  When running with a buggy you are unable to use your arms to drive your legs but you can use them to keep you balanced and upright.  Both hands should be on the buggy and your core should be tight and controlled, just pull the belly button into your back.  Having a strong core enables you to drive your legs up and off the ground and pushing a buggy gives you extra strength and stability as long as you don't run hunched over.

Make sure there is no energy leakage and that you don't collapse when you tire with each step.

Hips   

If you run with high hips this will keep you in the tall upright posture that you should be aiming for, before you run just tuck your tailbone (your bottom) in.  This pushes the hips forward and enables you to run tall.

Foot strike              

There is no right way or wrong way to land on your feet, generally as long as you land underneath your center of gravity and don’t over stride this will help improve your leg turnover, so imagine that you are “popping” off the ground.

Running without a buggy will seem so much easier if you practice the following;

arms

Bend your arms at the elbow, about a 90-degree angle and drive your elbow back, as though you are hammering a nail into a wall.  This stops the arms crossing your body and consequently twisting your torso.  If you run with a strong arm drive your body will look for symmetry therefor your arms should match your legs, and it’s easier to drive our arms back when you are tired than driving the knee up but by doing this, trust me your legs will follow.

Hands           

Your hands do not want to be clenched into a fist, they need to be relaxed; clenching them  wastes too much energy. Imagine that you have a budgie in each hand and you are gently carrying the budgies so that they don’t get squashed, if you clench your fists you will kill the budgies; remember “Don’t kill the budgies!”  In other words, keep your hands relaxed and slightly cupped.

 

 

Week 1 Session and Homework

Warm up followed by running drills.  Running for 2 mins and 1 minute recovery for 25 mins. If possible try and get out once more, follow the warm up and cool down routine and run for 2 mins with 1 min recovery for a total of 20 mins.  Focus on your posture and your technique and if you feel yourself tiring then pull up through your head and shoulders.