Ways to improve your running style
and find joy and pleasure in your running
Are you struggling with your running, still looking for the elevated experience? Here are a few suggestions:
Just relax and enjoy! Leave your old image of your running persona at home. You can reinvent a new running persona. I use to choose a feeling before I go out and then try to keep it, like youthful, celebrating health, sunshine, life, nature… I can be eager and strong like a wild horse, or moving like a cat: soft, silent, agile, balanced, attentive…
Think lightness: try to run effortless, with the wind, follow your curiousity. Think beauty: try to run beautiful, imagine that you are dancing, looking at yourself from the outside. Focus on the running experience!
Make your run a nice experience; running doesn’t have to have another purpose or be measured in terms of quantity. If you go to a party, the main thing is wheather it’s nice or fun. That’s the first thing you will tell your friends about afterwards, not how many guests or for how long the party lasted.
Imagine running without shoes. Running barefoot you will never land on your heels, because of the shock that would go straight up in your foot, leg, knee, hip. Landing on your forefoot will instead allow you to make use of the natural flexibility of the 2 arches in the foot. This running style normally comes natural after a few years of running but you can experiment doing “style work” (instead of speed-work) for instance uphill, slightly downhill, grass running etc.
Imagine pulling a sled with your waist. What will happen is that you will push your waist forward while your shoulders will fall down backwards from your neck, pushing your chest forward and elbows back. (This will also enhance your breathing, just like in yoga.) Your feet will strike backwards only touching the ground directly under your body – not in front of the body like heel-strikers breaking the movement.
Try to see and explore the variety of running possibilities: uphill, downhill, flat, technical trail, dry, wet, soft, loose, strong, floating, forefoot (midfoot), stairs, slow, fast, slalom, improvising, playful, with your senses, very far, when you feel like it…
Try a less heavy shoe (sub 340g for a US9), with neutral cushioning.
Be persistent! You can’t expect much if you don’t run consistently. Strenght is also a key element. Recognize small everyday challenges like walking stairs, biking uphill, walking and running uphill and downhill.