If you have been running for any length of time, you have probably wondered if you have “good running form”. Especially if you’ve had a body part become sore or injured from running. It is a good question to ask yourself, because when we run, we take anywhere from 160-190 steps in a single minute and our body weight is increased by 3-6 times. This means we really take a pounding! And if there is something wrong with our form, doing it 9,600 times over the course of an hour can lead to a problem.
Today I will go over two self-checks you can do to see if you are making a running form error that might be slowing you down or causing you pain as well as one sign that you might need to consult with a specialist.
Do you get sore, tense shoulders after a run? Or notice a tension headache after running?
If so, you may be carrying your arms high and tight to your body. Our arms should swing forward and backward when we run and our shoulders should be relaxed enough that our hands swing past our hips. Even when we are tired! Our arm positioning helps us maintain our balance while running and can help propel us forward so our legs are not doing ALL of the work. Check yourself by occasionally brushing your fingertips against your hips to be sure they are low enough. Mentally check where your shoulders are – do you feel them tensing up and rising towards your ears? Take a deep breath and drop them down. Occasionally relax all your fingers and shake out your hands. Remember, a T-Rex does not have good running form.
Do you kick yourself when you run? Do you get home and notice that your inner calves are dirty but the rest of you is not?
If this happens to you, your leg may be internally rotating too much. This can be a side effect of weak or fatigued hip muscles. Strong hip and glute muscles are a necessity for healthy running. Some of our most important hip muscles are the ones that rotate our leg outward. I have an earlier blog post that goes into this in more depth. https://superior-running-medicine.com/2021/12/17/get-your-rear-in-gear/ If you are internally rotating and kicking yourself, I strongly recommend adding muscles for your external rotators and abductors so you are not an injury waiting to happen.
Does something hurt while you run or hurt at times throughout your day?
Running can be so much fun but when you are first starting out it can be really hard! And then later in your running life when you get good at it, sometimes you will make it really hard for yourself again by doing intense workouts and races. The hard kind of hurt is totally OK. But if something hurts in a way that you know just isn’t right, it is time to seek the advice of a sports medicine professional like an athletic trainer. This person can help you determine whether or not some part of your running form is causing the pain and what steps are needed to correct it. We are a lot less scary than the overwhelming results you are likely to get from Dr. Google!
Are you looking for some advanced help with your running form? Check out our Services page. Feel free to reach out to chat and see if Superior Running Medicine might be a good match for you!