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6 Steps to Efficient Running

Learn to make the most of your run

Written by Michael Richardson | Healthy Magazine

1. Run Tall

Gravity and weak core muscles cause many runners to "fold" in the middle when their feet land. This sitting-down movement wastes energy. Imagine that wires are attached to your shoulders, pulling you up slightly. Thrust your hips forward a bit and think "stability" when your foot hits. It's easier to run tall if you've worked your core properly.

2. Relax

Tension in your arms, shoulders, neck, and face reduces efficiency. Arms and fingers should be loose. Unclench your hands and let your jaw jiggle.

3. Breathe Right

Your breathing should be rhythmic and deep, and you should feel your diaphragm, not your chest, doing the work. Exhale with controlled force. When you pick up the pace, don't let your breathing get shallow.

4. Land On

A heel-first landing is a brake. It means you're extending your leg out too far in front of your center of gravity, so it takes more energy to move forward. And it's shaky, so your muscles are working on stabilization instead of forward motion. Shorten your stride. It'll feel odd at first, like shuffling, but once you get used to it, focus on thrusting back ward with force.

5. Run Softly

The louder your footfalls, the less efficiently you're running. Try running more quietly; you'll be unconsciously switching to a midfoot strike and a shorter, quicker stride.

6. Swing

Check your form on a treadmill in front of a mirror. If one arm is bent more than the other or swings more, you have a musculoskeletal imbalance that can slow you down. Target the weaker side with strength and flexibility exercises.

Article Reviewed: November 15, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

Michael Richardson is an experienced writer, reporter, and interviewer. His writing has appeared in many publications, including KSL, Deseret News, BYU's Family Connections Magazine, and now, Healthy Magazine. Michael is involved in promoting the ideas of social entrepreneurship and solution journalism. And, when he's not saving the planet through his social journalistic ventures, Michael revels in exploring the latest developments in the field of healthcare, its history, its advancements, and where we will be tomorrow.

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