5 key metrics to improve your running form

5 key metrics to improve your running form

One of the main missions for INCUS is to deliver unrivalled performance feedback and to measure athletic markers that you won’t find on your average smart watch. Here are 5 of INCUS’ most important metrics for analysing running form, with an explanation on how to utilise the data and apply it to your training so that you can become a faster and more efficient runner.

1.   Body Angles

Due to its unique and innovative configuration, the INCUS NOVA is able to measure the way your body moves as a whole. This allows it to measure both sides of the body equally, as opposed to running watches which only measure one side and make assumptions for the other. 

Body Angles is a revolutionary INCUS metric that gives a score based on three planes of movement: Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. In this context, Pitch relates Body Lean - i.e. how far forward you lean (or not) when you run; Roll relates to Torso Rotation - i.e. how much your shoulders and chest move as you run; and Yaw relates to Lateral Sway - i.e. how much you move side to side through movement of the legs and hips.

Measuring these Body Angles will not only allow you to hone your technique, it’ll allow you to spot any imbalances or early signs of injury. Once you have your Body Angles score from your INCUS NOVA, you will know exactly which parts of your body may be imbalanced and where to focus your training. It will also help you to run faster and smash those long-standing PBs.

Our full article on Body Angles gives detailed explanations of what too much or too little of each Body Angle can mean for your running form, with drills you can try in order to improve.

2.   Vertical Ratio

As a runner, it’s likely that you’ll spend a lot of your training time focused on how well you propel yourself forward. But have you spent much time thinking about the way you bounce up and down? Vertical Ratio is a metric from INCUS that gives a score based on vertical oscillation in relation to stride length.

Vertical oscillation is an advanced yet important metric for more serious runners, as too much or too little can lead to injury and prevent you from improving your speed. At INCUS, we believe it’s not enough to measure just vertical oscillation, and it’s important to relate this to stride length so that you can see feedback on how efficient your forward momentum is.

Our full article on Vertical Ratio gives a detailed explanation on how to analyse this data with drills to try in order to improve your score. You may find it allows you to run the fastest you’ve ever run.

3.   Stride Phases

In running, Stride Phases refers to the different parts of a run stride as the legs cycle through. One of the most important elements to master for any runner are the Stride Phases, as this will make you not only an efficient and therefore faster runner, but will reduce your risk of injury. Once you’ve nailed this essential element, all other metrics and small tweaks of improvement can be built on top.

The INCUS metric Stride Phases analyses your Flight Time versus your Contact Time - i.e. how long you’re in the air compared to how long you’re on the ground. Better runners tend to spend more time in the air, so measuring your Stride Phases and looking at your INCUS feedback will allow you to see tangible data on whether you need to improve this.

Our full article on Stride Phases details exactly how this is measured during your run with several drills to practise in order to improve.

4.   Cadence

Cadence is one of the more basic run metrics you can measure, but is no less important than any of the others. Cadence relates to how many steps you take per minute, and generally it is agreed that around 180 steps per minute is optimum for most runners. As with all the other metrics listed here, improving and honing your cadence can make you a faster runner and reduce your risk of injury.

The INCUS NOVA measures both pace and cadence with more accuracy than your average smart watch thanks to its clever design and ergonomic positioning. Our full article on pacing and cadence details exactly how this works, why it’s so important to measure, and how to improve.

5.   Left/Right Balance

Imbalances are common in runners and can be one of the leading causes of injury if left untreated. They are natural among humans, as we all have a more dominant side and a less dominant side - just think about how we are all either left-handed or right-handed. By measuring your Left/Right Balance with the INCUS NOVA when you run, you will be able to see accurate data from both sides of the body to analyse how balanced you are as you move.

Not only will Left/Right Balance show if you have any natural imbalances, it’s one of the best early markers for injury. This is because when we start to develop an injury, the body will compensate and put more weight on the other side. You may not have even noticed the injury developing yet, but if you see more of an imbalance than usual in your data, you can quickly take action to adapt your training and prevent the injury from ever becoming a problem.

Our full article on Left/Right Balance details exactly what can cause running imbalances, how to spot them, and drills to incorporate into your training so that you can improve.

  

About the author: Alex Parren is a Freelance Health & Fitness writer as well as a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.

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