Working on your running posture is very important in preventing injury and can, over weeks and months, steadily improve your training consistency and therefore performance.
To get an idea of what the ‘best’ running posture is, look at the ‘best’ runners for the event or distance you’re training for. Watch videos of an Olympic or world championship 10K, or, for triathlon-specific examples, look for clips of Javier Gomez, Mario Mola and Gwen Jorgensen – you’ll see similarities in their postures.
Usually they’ll be running ‘tall’, with their shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line and a slight forward lean from the ankles. This lean also helps each foot land under the centre of mass. While some athletes’ postures are slightly more upright, they all carry their hips up and forwards.
Contrast this to what you’ll see with the majority of middle- or back-of-the-pack athletes, where you’ll often see a bend at the hips and more of a ‘sitting’ position. This position ‘switches off’ the glute muscles and so you lose the potential power and stride length that proper use of the glutes brings.
To achieve this tall posture start by opening out your rib cage and relaxing your shoulders, then imagine you have a piece of string pulling your head gently upwards, lengthening your neck and back.
Once you have this position gently lean forward from your ankles and start to run. Use your core to maintain as long a body as possible and keep your hips up. Initially you’ll find this position is hard to maintain, but once you’ve memorised it you can then work on building the strength to hold it and hopefully see your performance start to improve.
(Main image: Delly Carr)
For lots more running advice head to our Training section