- The key to running efficiently is to work on technique, using the least amount of energy to move faster and longer.
An aesthetically pleasing ride is often also efficient. Pay attention to gestures such as arm movement, foot landing point, knee flexion, torso and head position, and hip sway.
Using a device such as a sportwatch to monitor cadence can help you understand the evolution of your technique. Forcing yourself to maintain the optimal cadence for a few weeks can improve overall running efficiency.
Running is anatural, simple, instinctive act. We learn this as children, right after we start walking because we want to move faster and have more fun. However, this does not mean that we learned it the right way, which means running efficiently. That is, to consume the least amount of energy so that we move faster and longer.
The key, simple as it is, lies right here. And to run efficiently we need to work on our technique.
Running is beautiful to see: the most important advice
This sounds trivial, but – basically – a good-looking running style is very often also efficient. Jumping around like Mr. Bean going after butterflies or having the heavy step of the Hulk, besides being ugly to look at, consumes much more energy than necessary.
Therefore, the most important advice is to have videos taken while you are running, especially with a side shot (as well as front and back) that allows you to see every single gesture: how you move your arms, where (and how) your feet land, how much you bend your knees, what position your torso and head are in, how vertically your hips swing with each step.
Only by seeing yourself “from the outside” you can evaluate your running style and, more importantly, increase your consciousness.
Let’s see together what to pay attention to when you run.
The movement of the arms
In this case, all the shots are useful. In fact, the arms should be bent about 90 degrees and move fairly parallel to the body, without crossing too much.
Of course, as you know and as is normally the case, the forward arm should be the one opposite the forward leg.
How and where the feet land
Your feet should always land in line with your torso and, most importantly, never in front. This is something to pay close attention to because it would mean slowing down, wasting energy. The landing point of the foot should never be full heel but more shifted toward the centering part of the plant.
How much you bend your knees
In truth this is only a signal. In fact, the legs should move in a fluid, “circular” manner. The stiff leg does not take full advantage of the thrust and it wastes energy.
Position of torso and head
Your torso should be well erect to facilitate breathing and slightly leaning forward to take advantage of the controlled falling motion of running. The head, high, should always point forward with its gaze toward the horizon.
Oscillation of the hips
Your hips should move forward as if you had a rope tied to your waist pulling at you. In fact, vertical swings are all wasted energy because our purpose is to move forward.
You can’t tell the cadence from the video, but the sportwatch on your wrist helps. However, you can try different cadences so you can understand how your running style evolves and changes. In particular, remember that a great way to work on your running technique is to do a couple of weeks forcing yourself to hold your optimal cadence – this will improve efficiency.
I know, the beauty of the running style doesn’t have much to do with it, but you will see that a more efficient style also becomes more beautiful to look at.