Running Form / Life Form – A Blog by Physical Therapist Mike Swinger


Running Form/Life Form

When it comes to running form, one of the most overriding strategies is to get from here to there as efficiently as possible. I can get to the finish line by running in a zig-zag pattern or taking a detour to the concession stand, but it’s much more effective to run in a straight line. This is an obvious inefficiency. Not so obvious are the subtle ways in which our run form is causing us extra effort. Any effort within our bodies that does not translate into quick efficient forward motion amounts to wasted effort. Some common examples of this can be overstriding or excessive hip or shoulder motion. Essentially, we’re putting energy into something that is not helping with the result we want to achieve.

In a similar way, our Spiritual lives can fall victim to inefficiencies. Are there things we do or thoughts we have that are not helping us to live in a way that is effective for the Kingdom? These can be very obvious to those around us, or subtle and secretive. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” What is hindering you from running the race with perseverance?

On a practical note with running, overstriding is a prolific bad habit. This term may be familiar to some, brand new to others. Any time your foot lands significantly ahead of your hip is considered an overstride. There are a couple ways to tell if you are doing this. First, have someone record a video of you running from the side. If your foot is landing out front of where your hips are then you’re guilty! Using slow-motion or freeze frame can help you out with this as well. Secondly, have a friend watch you from in front. As you run directly toward them, if they can see the bottoms of your shoes clearly then you’re likely guilty of overstriding as well. A couple drills to combat this consist of “A drills” where you jog slowly with intermittent quick steps where you bring your foot straight up and snap it straight back down, as well as running on your toes for short stretches 10-20 seconds as part of a warm-up or peppered in throughout a run. Both drills encourage your foot to strike underneath your body which is more efficient.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Enjoy!

Mike Swinger, PT


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