In Part 1 we talked about the importance of relaxing whilst you are running - if you hold tension in any part of the body, e.g. scrunched shoulders, clenched fists, gritted teeth, etc, you are wasting energy! Also, you are more likely to cause an imbalance in your body, increasing the risk of injury.

Now that you are nice and relaxed, we need to focus on good posture:
HEAD - should be inline with your spine (not bobbing around, cocked to one side etc)
ARMS - swing from the shoulder - not from the elbow, and minimise swing across the body
LEAN - a slight forward whole-body lean can be very effective, but ensure you're not simply bending forward at the waist.

We will look at each one in more depth in due course...


Good running form is important for two main reasons - it increases your running efficiency and reduces probability of injury.  

Mostly, our bodies find their own balance when running, but there are small things that can be tweaked to reduce the effect of muscle imbalances.  However, these things need to be worked at regularly to make a difference - practice them often enough and eventually you will do them without thinking - this is the power of muscle memory.

The essence of good running form is...... to relax! So,on your next run, do a 'top-to-toe survey' whilst you run - relaxing neck & shoulders, unclench your fists, etc. Watch this space for Part 2.

Give it a rest!
After all your hard training, remember that you need to give your body a rest in order to aid recovery.  I hear too many stores where runners become exhausted, injured, and demotivated as a result of overtraining.  These people are missing a vital aspect of training effectively - that recovery is just as essential as the hard work!

During recovery time, your body changes - it is repairing muscle tissue and making necessary adaptions to be able to take on the next challenge you throw at it.  It is better to intersperse recovery time into your training week, rather than train for 10 days solid then have 3 days off.  And a rest day doesn't necessarily mean doing nothing - low level exercise can improve your recovery.  Yogo, pilates or just a good old walk are all great recovery activities!

Plyometrics for Runners
Plyo-what?  Indeed,plyometrics don’t get as much billing as they should in the world of running.  Basically, any exercise that involves a muscle shortening followed immediately by a powerful lengthening can be described as plyometric.  Hopping, jumping and bounding are classic examples.  Building these into your training regularly will improve your muscle elasticity, power and running economy.

After a warm-up, try these:

1.      Alternate 5 hops on each leg, aiming for height and distance. Repeat

2.      Jump with feet together in front and behind a line or marker on the floor, 5 - 10 times each side continuous.

3.      Jump with feet together to the left and right of the marker, 5-10 times each side continuous.

4.      Start on top of a step or kerb.  Drop off backwards (don’t jump that bit) and as soon as your feet hit the floor, immediately spring back up onto the step and continuously repeat 10-20 times.

5.      Start in lunge position, then leap up and forward, switching legs in the air, then land in lunge position with other foot forward.  THIS IS HARD! 3-4 on each leg is enough.

Make sure you use good posture throughout and don’t overdo it – little and often is best or you will increase the probability of injury!


We've all had a stitch whilst out running at some time or another, but what is it? And is there anything we can do to prevent it happening? The most common explanation is that the diaphragm (the band of muscle sitting between your chest and abdominal cavities) goes into a cramp. The running movement creates your internal organs and your breathing to create opposing stresses on the diaphragm, causing it to cramp. Shoulder-tip pain is thought to be associated with stitch as the shoulder and diaphragm share the same nerve root. So what can we do to reduce this inconvenient pain?

Whilst Running

Slow your pace and grab your side or press in where it hurts.  Lean over slightly onto
that side. Get your breathing sorted - exhale AT THE SAME TIME as the foot on
your pain-free side strikes the floor. After a few minutes your pain should go

  • DON'T eat too much too soon before a run
  • DON'T skimp on your warm up
  • DON'T have a belly full of water just before running
  • DO regular core strengthening for adequate abdominal support



The importance of stretching helps correct muscle imbalances that lead to poor posture and running technique. For example, tight glutes (bum muscles) can cause ITB problems, knee problems and sciatica.

Conditioning training in the winter helps keep up the strength and prepares you for the summer season.  Squats, lunges and step ups build leg strength and abdominal exercises maintain strong core muscles.

So supplement your winter running with Jan's core sessions to improve next summer................ 
Next session - Thursday 5th January (room permitting) - run specific tone and core. 

Falmouth Road Runners, Falmouth Sports Club, Western Terrace, Falmouth TR11 4QJ
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