Do you have a need or desire for speed and think you need to lengthen your stride? Think again. Most people equate running faster with an increased stride length, when in fact, you need to quicken your foot turnover to get a more powerful push-off. The mid foot strike is where you should aim, with your hips underneath you and a slight forward lean.
Quick tip on how to find your perfect stance: Stand with your feet solidly underneath you about shoulder length apart. This is your most stable vantage point, right at mid-foot. Start to lean forward (back straight) until you have to take a step not to fall on your face. This is the ideal body position.
While it may seem counter intuitive, an increased stride length actually leads to more injuries including the ever-popular shin splints. These occur when your foot is landing too far in front of you. The other common injury from over striding is hamstring pulls and tears. By getting your hips underneath you (think being on an elliptical or bike), your body falls into a much higher energy state where you can efficiently move forward and lighten your foot plant so it provides less stress on your body.
Improving your foot turnover takes practice and the best to time to do this is on your easy runs. Another way is to get on an elliptical, let go of the handrails and try to get your RPM to 180 steps per minute. Do this on an easy 1-3 level and practice increasing the foot rotations gradually. The elliptical also helps put your body in the right position with your hips underneath you and a taller, more energy induced stance. Form follows function so by getting your body in the right position you will be in a much better position to increase pace and run more efficiently. And that is where speed reigns.
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