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How to Improve Your Running Form: The 5 Biggest Mistakes Beginning Marathoners Make

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Uploaded on Aug 4, 2011

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Hi everyone! We're Jae Gruenke and Julia Pak from The Balanced Runner, and we specialize in helping
runners improve their form and performance using the Feldenkrais Method. In today's video we're
going to explore what it might be about your running form that's causing aches and pains and making
it so tough to finish long runs. We'll give you the running form guidance we give our clients when they
come to us for help with their marathon training.

Every year in August so many people training for their first marathon come to us because they've
developed pain and the early signs of injury as their mileage increases beyond what they're used to. If
you're watching this, we bet you can relate. You're following the advice on running form you've read
in books or magazines, or heard from your friend or maybe even a coach, and it doesn't help much if at
all. There are a lot of possible reasons for this, but very often the cause is a few common running form
mistakes. And they are:

1. Running upright -- there's a difference between slouching and leaning. We're not saying you
should slouch, but when you run you have to lean forward, the amount you lean depends on
your speed.
2. Overstriding -- landing with your foot in front of your hip joint rather than underneath.
Changing your footstrike is a complicated issue -- both what part of your foot you land on and
where your foot is relative to your hip joint -- because your feet land where they have to in
order to keep you from falling over. So to change your footstrike you have to change what you
do with your torso, arms, and head, and it's a change you should never try to force. We'll talk
about how to do it more in a future video.
3. Heelstriking -- landing on your heels and rolling through to the balls of your toes. Make sure
you're not trying to land on your heels -- ideally your landing should be on the middle of
your foot or near the ball of your foot -- but also don't force yourself not to if it's what comes
naturally.
4. Pulling your shoulders back and swinging your arms front-to-back. Running depends on a
counter-rotation of the upper and lower body which generates power for running and reduces
bouncing and impact. This counter-rotation makes your arms swing on a diagonal pathway,
not front-to-back. This counter-rotation also means that one shoulder goes forward as the
other goes back, so if you pull both shoulders back you'll reduce this important rotation and
significantly increase your impact.
5. Tightening your core. The other half of this counter-rotation is movement of the pelvis, and if
you grip your abs in a corset-like action you will restrict the movement and, again, significantly
increase your impact and over-stress your legs. This is a classic cause of IT band problems, knee
pain, and plantar fasciitis.

So that's a brief explanation of each of these. Learning to run correctly is a process that can take awhile,
but hopefully just knowing these key elements will help you begin to feel better. And most important of
all, never run through pain! If your running hurts, start looking at how to change your form. Thanks for
watching and be sure to subscribe for more running form tips!

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