» Posture, Pace, Bounce, and Breath

Posture, Pace, Bounce, and Breath

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

Now that you are running, let’s go over a few pointers to help you run better and without injury. Commit these four words to memory and repeat them frequently while you are running. “Posture. Pace. Bounce. Breath.” As you repeat each one with your internal voice, check yourself and make adjustments to each.

Posture

Posture is important in running, since it aligns your body to require less effort and less wasted movement. Running with correct posture takes some time to develop, but if you keep checking your posture as you run, you will make improvements.

Try imagining a string connected to the top of your head. Imagine it pulling you up and stretching your body. Imagine that this string is helping to lighten you, making running more effortless. Allow your shoulders and arms to relax and flow naturally.

If you struggle with posture, as I have, try Pilates on the days you are not running. The exercises in Pilates will strengthen the muscles that support good posture and will help you to be more conscious about posture throughout the day.

You can also improve your posture by watching other runners. Imitate those who look like they are running well. Make note of those that run with certain quirks and see if you are doing the same.

Pace

Pace is the amount of time it takes you to run one mile. You should adjust your pace to fit the situation. For those of you getting started in running, a slower pace will allow you to run more than walk. For long runs, a slower pace will allow you to complete the distance. For short runs, a faster pace will help build strength and speed. For hill runs, you can adjust your pace to use a consistent effort, allowing you to deal with challenging hills without getting too tired.

Monitor your pace and track improvement by using a sports watch with a timer. For best results, use a watch that allows splits. This means that each time you push a certain button on the watch, it will keep a record of the time since you last pushed the button. You can measure the mile intervals in your runs by pressing your watch timer at each mile. This will allow you to see if your pace is consistent and allow you to chart your progress.

Bounce

As you run, feel how much you bounce up and down. If you are monitoring your posture and pace, you should be able to control your bounce so that you have the feeling of floating as you run. This takes time to develop, but is worth the effort, since excessive bounce can lead to injuries in your feet and knees.

Try imagining that your feet have wings and that they are helping to pull you forward. This will give you a lighter feeling. It will also relieve the pounding on your heals by encouraging a mid-foot strike, which is better for preventing injuries.

Breath

For beginning runners, breathing is one of the most challinging things. When you start running, your lungs will burn as you gasp for air. Here are two things that will help. First, run at a slow enough pace to allow you to hold a conversation. This will help build your lung capacity gradually. Second, as you run, breathe with your diaphram. To do this, picture an inflatable inner tube around your belly and back. As you breath in, expand your stomach and lower back to push out on the inner tube. Use your stomach and lower back to help you exhale as well. This will allow you to fill your lungs with more air and help you to catch your breath. It will feel very awkward at first, but stick with it. It can really help.

Remember – Posture. Pace. Bounce. Breath. Repeat these as you run, and you will improve.