Recently, I’ve been writing a lot about running cadence and how it can help you become a faster runner. But running faster, without paying attention to form, can lead to some serious issues. So here are three things to keep in mind while you up-your-cadence.
Hip Hip Hooray
You may be asking yourself, “What is hip drive, and why should I care?“. Hip drive is an important component of running power. If you start to move your feet faster by taking shorter steps without driving much from the hip when your back foot leaves the ground, then your performance will suffer. So, the next time you go out for a run, focus on your hips and ensure you are pushing off the ground behind you with each and every step.
If you haven’t focused on this before you may not be able to sustain it for a long period of time which is OK. Just start paying attention to it periodically throughout your runs, so you can improve your hip drive over time. And don’t forget to stretch in between your runs. This will help as well.
Lean On Me
What else about your running form might start to break down when you increase your cadence? Well, do you tend to run in an upright position, or do you lean forward? You may know that leaning forward slightly while running is advisable, so if you don’t lean at all, here is something to think about. The lean comes from the ankles, not the waist, so don’t simply start bending over while you are running! That would be worse!
Think about it this way: As you run, imagine there is a rope connected to your head and imagine that it’s being pulled by a helicopter that is flying up high in front of you. Imagine the rope is being pulled continuously by this helicopter…pulling you forward causing a slight lean in the ankles.
One More, for Good Measure
Arm swing. This is an easy one. Simply put, the arms reciprocate the legs, and a sluggish arm swing can lead to a slower running cadence. If you start increasing your cadence but don’t focus on increasing your arm swing, the two forces may work against each other. So make sure you’re swinging your arms as quickly as you’d like to be moving your legs. You’ll be amazed at how much this one little thing can help your overall speed!
Be sure to keep your shoulders down and relaxed while you swing your arms. And keep them somewhat low and back, so that your hands almost brush the sides of your body as they swing. They should be close to a 90-degree angle, not bent sharply upward with your fists pointing to the sky.
So we’ve talked about three components of proper running form you should be thinking about the next time you run: hip drive, forward lean, and arm swing.