“The more technique you have, the less you have to worry about it.”
— Pablo Picasso
I’ve analyzed hundreds of runners over the past several years, each with their own particular gait, their own particular style.
If you watch people jogging around town, every runner looks a bit different. The lady who runs like a clucking chicken, the man who moves his head back and forth like a windshield wiper and the high school kid that hardly swings his arms.
Even among elite runners, there is a wide range of normal.
We have each developed a specific, personalized style of running that fits our bodies. Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints and prior injuries all play a role in determining your most efficient style for running.
Your brain isn’t dumb. It has spent its entire life figuring out the most efficient way of moving your body down the road. We don’t necessarily want to mess with that plan.
However, there are certain running mistakes that do need correcting. Over the next two weeks, I will cover a number of the common technique errors I frequently see in my clinic. Today will focus on upper body issues, and next week, the lower body.
HEAD, UPPER BACK
When you run, your head should not be jutting out in front of your body. It should be comfortably retracted back over your shoulders.
Often, this forward head posture is coupled with a hunched or slouched upper back. In combination, this slumped posture can lead to headaches, shoulder pain and pain between the shoulder blades. It also restricts normal expansion of your rib cage, which limits normal breathing patterns.
Try to “run tall” as you move. Imagine a string is pulling the top of your head toward the sky. This will keep your neck and upper back from looking like a hunchback.