Running is an innate skill. Place one foot in front of the other with reasonable velocity, swing your arms and generate forward momentum. Easy right? Not so much…

There are many reasons why some people are better at running than others, why some are faster, more efficient and less injury prone.

The good news is that not all of these reasons are genetic handouts.

Here are 3 of the many features of a good runner that can help runners and joggers of all abilities.

1) Relaxed form

Fundamentally good runners look relaxed. They don’t look like a washing machine on spin cycle trying to crash and stumble their way down the footpath.

Try these little tips:

  • Strong core and gluts – this improves your ability to not only absorb impact loading but also maintain good knee and leg alignment to avoid injury and go faster!
  • Loosen up your jaw… like a bulldog running at full pace with jowels flying! All of your energy should be going towards moving forward, not clenching!
  • Swing your arms from the shoulders, keeping your elbows in close to your body and relax your hand grip. Imagine you have to hold a Pringles chip in between your thumb and middle finger…and you can’t break it!

2) Stride length & cadence (step rate)

Many a runner is guilty of over-striding, using precious energy to get your centre of mass back over your feet, before propelling yourself forward. Aim for a foot-strike directly underneath you so that all of your energy is being used to generate forward momentum. As you get your feet landing underneath you, cadence will also increase.

3) Strength first…then speed

It takes a long time to condition your body to regular running. Even elite runners often don’t reach their peaks until late 20s on well into their 30’s. Don’t underestimate the value of slower running to build an aerobic fitness base.