Want to improve your running technique? Before you can start work on improving you need to know what errors you are making. We look at three common mistakes and how to correct them.
Born to run
Our bodies were built to run. From the time you could first walk you knew how to run and probably never gave any thought to how you did it - that is until you wanted to run faster. Because running is in so many ways a natural technique it can be hard to retrain yourself. Seeing data from your INCUS|NOVA can help you feel and understand how different running techniques can improve your running performance.
Incus metric: Cadence, Take-Off acceleration and Landing Deceleration
A common technique error in new runners is that the foot lands too far in front of the body, commonly known as over-striding. This promotes a heel strike landing, which leads to higher landing deceleration, this increases your injury risk as well as lowering your cadence, contributing to an inefficient technique.
If your cadence is down in the 150–160 steps per minute range or lower, there’s a good chance you’re over-striding. Try taking shorter, quicker steps with your foot landing just in front of your body and use your INCUS|NOVA to see how an increase in cadence through shorter steps can decrease your landing deceleration.
Problem: Left/right imbalances
Incus Metric: Take-Off acceleration and Landing Deceleration
No one is completely symmetrical but excessive imbalance can slow you down and make injury more likely. Imbalances between left and right legs are common in a lot of runners, particularly in landing decelerations and to a lesser extent, take off accelerations. Left unaddressed, imbalances can lead to injuries due to a dependence on one side doing more of the work over an extended period of time.
You can use INCUS’ Take Off and Landing graph to see your left/right balance. If your landing values are significantly different between left and right legs, it shows your body is working differently on each side. If you already have an injury this is very useful data to share with your physio and can help you monitor how successful your rehabilitation is.
Try maintaining a relaxed, tall posture to help contact on each side become more even. If your landing values increase dramatically during a run or from one session to the next, reduce the session's duration, distance, or intensity to help manage your injury risk.
Problem: Heavy Landing
Incus Metric: Cadence, Take-Off Acceleration and Landing Deceleration
You can hear a runner who is heavy on their feet by the thud of every footstep. Runners who land heavily are often more prone to injury. Landing Deceleration shows the ‘braking force’ you are using as your foot strikes the floor. If your Landing Deceleration is high, experiment with different techniques to lower it.
Using the relaxed, tall posture aim to land your foot almost directly under your centre of mass to reduce the braking motion that occurs when you strike the ground. Check your cadence, if you have a low cadence try increasing your steps per minute slightly. If you notice Landing Deceleration increases at a certain distance or intensity, reduce your training to protect yourself from injury and focus your running time on improving your technique.
You can learn more about running drills in our post about Running Strides - something to try in your next run session