As I've increased my base mileage over the last couple of years, I've also tried to become a more economical runner. Some of the things I do on runs that help me bring my form back into line when I begin to tire that help, at least temporarily, to help me pick up my pace are:
**Bend/lean slightly forward at the waist. I notice that as I tire, that there is more verical movement in my stride. By leaning forward a bit and keeping my stride closer to the ground I've noticed that my leg turn and toe off feel a bit more natural and effortless.
**Keep stride on an even plane with shoulders. By concentrating on keeping my quads moving in a straight line forward I seem to run more economically. As I tire, my feet sometimes supplant outwards and fall outside the line of my hips and shoulders.
**Keep arms relaxed and elbows slightly bent, include a little wrist snap. My arms tend to creep up closer to my chest when I tire and often my elbows will cross the plane of my hips/shoulder. When this happens, I also get some inefficient cross body arm swing which slows me down a little.
These are the 3 biggies for me, usually when I concentrate on 1 the other 2 will fall in line. I've found that when these 3 fall in line, I'm able to run faster with less perceived effort, often 20-30 seconds per mile faster.
However, while running more efficiently feels easier and more natural it does require some degree of concentration. If my concentration begins to waver, then I tend to fall into some of my bad habits and slow down. Does anybody have any drills or other ideas that have helped them improve their running form and become a faster more efficient runner?
A couple things work for me.
Form drills; where you go about 10 yds doing: slow high knees, fast high knees, butt kicks, bounders, skipping. It's a repetitive thing that makes you focus on correct form.
The other thing is an arm movement drill. I usually use 5 lb weights, one in each hand. Stand in front of a mirror and for one minute, simulate a fast running arm movement, making sure your elbows are coming up behind you and your arms are not crossing your midline. You might want to start with no weights. Just make sure you keep your upper body relaxed throughout.
Keep in mind that both of these drills exaggerate the leg and arm movement of running, which is not how you want to run, but as a drill it helps focus on correct form.
I do. I have a real problem with getting too tense through the shoulders so I'll drop the arms and just 'carry' them instead of swinging them in stride.