Tips for relaxed running form

The title says it all. As an athlete,  any athlete, the less anxiety and panic the better you will be able to perform.

We will never perform anywhere near our best in training or competition if we are in an anxious state.

So really aim at meditating and breathing slowly before training and racing, just being in the moment. 

I will go into this much deeper in a later blog, but for today I want to give you some tips on becoming a more efficient runner.

A lot of us put in a mountain of high intensity work as well as long volume, we work on building a  really big "engine", only to spend far more "petrol" than we need to while running.

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If runner A and runner B have the same Vo2max and lactate threshold, and are both pretty tough athletes, then 99/100 it will be the most efficient runner who wins the race. They simply expend less energy than their competitor.

We do many things to improve running economy.  Strength training is the major one, as well as form drills, fast strides for neuromuscular development and mobility work.

But I want to talk about relaxing while running and the benefits for performance.

Look at the elites run and you will see how they look effortless even at crazy speeds.  They have worked on this over the years, as talented as they are, it takes years of consistent work. We can work on taking minutes off our PBs by following the below steps.

1. The number 1 rule is to relax your mind.  So, meditate, relax your breathing and keep it simple.  Do not overthink and enjoy every minute.  Anxiety will sabotage our performance. 

2. Relax every part of your body.  Reduce tension throughout your whole body, face, neck, shoulders and arms.  Believe me, it helps a lot.  Less tension means less energy expenditure.

3. Land light - think "soft feet".  Avoid banging each step into the ground.  The lighter we land and the closer to underneath our centre of gravity, the less energy we expend.  It is also great for injury prevention.

4. Increase cadence - following on from tip 3, aim at picking your soft feet up a little quicker.  The goal for any distance runner should be around 180 steps per minute.  So, 90 each leg, but if you are currently around 150 steps per minute don't try to get to 180 too fast.  Work on it over time.

Practice these 4 things over the next 6-12 months and they will gradually become hard wired parts of your running. 

In later blogs I will discuss form drills and strength training to improve running economy.