Check out page 62 of the November issue of Runner’s World—or click here—to find my piece detailing exercises to do before and after your run to improve your form.
The online version of the story includes helpful videos to show you how to do each exercise. Once you’re comfortable with these exercises to do before and after each run, here are some tips to help clean up your form during each run—inspired by your favorite television characters.
Check that your glutes are firing as you run by putting your hands on your bottom and squeezing. Yes, it looks odd, but poking your seat where you want the muscles to engage can send a message to the glutes to stay engaged.
As you run—especially as you tire—notice the angle of your pelvis. If you’re running intervals, take a moment between to return to cat/cow and reset. Sometimes I describe the pelvic tilts of cat and cow as Urkel and Beyoncé. Try to find a neutral position, so you aren’t pushing your hips forward like Urkel, or arching your back like Beyoncé.
To encourage your elbows to drop and your chest to open, rotate your thumbs to face up and away from each other (think Fonzie).
As you tire, your chin likes to jut forward, shortening the back of your neck, encouraging your upper spine to round, and closing off the front of your chest. To counteract this tendency, think of the muppet Beaker: tuck your chin down, pull it back, and lengthen the back of your neck. Bonus points if you smile instead of frowning.
Creating and maintaining good form is an ongoing process—you’ll want to cycle your attention through your whole body several times over the course of each run. Such focus pays big dividends, as it makes you more efficient, directing your energy only where it’s needed, wasting less.
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