RUNNING CONTROL

 In Workout
Sometimes when we’re performing strides, we imagine that we look just like an elite runner—knees high, heels kicking our butt, back straight, arms swinging… and then we catch a glimpse of our reflection and think, “Huh. That’s not what I envisioned at all.” But that’s okay. “There’s a reason why you run the way you do. That hitch or head bobble or slight lean back or lack of knee lift is all yours,” says Nike+ Run Club Global Head Coach Chris Bennett. “The goal of working on your form is the same as the goal of your overall training—to become a better and more elite version of you.” Follow these pointers to run more efficiently (and fingers crossed, gracefully) on any terrain.

DO A FORM CHECK
The best time to assess your form is later in a run or race, when you’re already fatigued, says Bennett. “That’s when weaknesses or imbalances tend to show up, sometimes in exaggerated ways.” Take note of what your shoulders, arms, hips, knees and feet are doing so that you can work specifically to correct any issues that may exist.

LEAN IN
Maintain a slight forward lean throughout your run. A good cue is to think about your chin just leading your chest. “It’s a simple reference that often helps runners’ feet land where they should (under your hips; not excessively on your heels) and takes stress off the lower back and hamstrings,”

COME OUT SWINGING
Use your arms to drive your stride. Keep your hands relaxed and arms by your sides at about a 90-degree angle. Push elbows behind you (until hands slide past your hips) and back while you run.

KILL THOSE HILLS
“I tell runners that they should dance up the hills, with light and quick steps,” says Bennett. Stay relaxed, shorten your stride, use your arms, stay in control of your breath and lean forward a little more aggressively.

PICK IT UP ON YOUR WAY BACK DOWN
Rather than putting on the brakes while you’re running downhill, save energy by embracing the speed it naturally brings instead. “Focus on relaxing your upper body, keeping your arms loose, your back tall and your foot strike on the middle to the ball of your foot,”

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