Who doesn’t want to improve their running? I’m in a unique position of being a high school track and field/cross country coach and a chiropractor so needless to say, I see runners all day for a variety of issues. I’m often asked by my patients and my athletes I coach, what can I do to become a better runner? Here are my top 5 tips to improve your running.
- Running Tall
- Recover Better
- Get Your Form Checked
- Don’t Let Little Things Become Big Things
- Just Breathe
I wrote a previous blog about this one. Simply put, the best running cue I could ever give someone is to run tall. A lot of poor biomechanics and habits can be fixed by this simple cue. If you run with poor posture, it can shut off a lot of the correct muscles and lead to not only injuries but poor running economy.
Sometimes we forget that rest is as important if not more important than the work. Are you sleeping at least 8 hours a night? Do you eat the correct nutrition? Are you recovering on your recovery days and running an appropriate pace? Nick Symmonds runs 8 minute miles on his recovery days and has a PR in the 800m of 1:42.95. I see a lot of people who sleep 5 hours a night and live on coffee, if that’s you, you’re not adequately recovering. Do you think you can eat whatever you want because you’ll just run it off? If so, then you’re not recovering properly.
Get Your Form Checked
As a coach, I find a lot of athletes aren’t even aware of their poor form. Perhaps you have a bad mechanic or two and don’t even realize that. Over time, bad mechanics lead to injuries not to mention you will run slower than you’re capable of. Luckily for you, a lot of the local shoe running stores have running form clinics that could be very useful. A lot of coaches are very good about checking form as well so it may be worth investing a little money to get your foam analyzed. I offer running analysis at my office and I send you the videos and analysis afterwards so you’ll always have it.
Don’t Let Little Things Become Big Things
I often see individuals that come into my office and say, well it started months ago and it just kept getting worse and I just kept running on it, but now it’s gotten to a point where I can’t run at all. There are a lot of little things that can ultimately become big things and set you back. Consistency is one of the most important factors to improving running but if you’re consistently injured, you can’t progress. Half of my job as a high school coach is to make sure little things don’t become big things. We do lots of foam rolling and self myofascial work for the little injuries that seem to pop up. We also do a lot of strength work and corrective exercises.
Learn how to breathe, seriously! If you don’t breathe with your diaphragm, the way we were designed to breathe, you’re not able to get as much oxygen in your lungs. And, last time I checked, that’s kind of important in running! Your diaphragm also integrates directly into your core. Think of your core as a box, the diaphragm is the lid for that box. A strong, functional core will go a long ways towards improving your ability to run and staying injury free.
-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS