Many runners hold tension in their upper body, which can make your regular run feel twice as hard. Try this simple trick to check yourself: Roll up a sheet of paper and run with it for a few minutes (as if you were holding a baton in a 400-meter relay). If the paper comes back crunched, you are squeezing too hard! Allowing your hands to loosen up translates into reduced tension in the shoulders and less wasted energy.
Your feet are the only thing that comes into contact with the ground every single time you walk and run yet they’re almost always hidden away in shoes and never shown any love. To improve proprioception and loosen the tissues on the bottoms of your feet, place a small ball (a lacrosse ball, golf ball, or tennis ball work best) on the floor and gently roll from the heel to the ball of the foot. Try performing this simple massage technique (or flossing) for 30 seconds on each foot every morning and night. Make it part of your daily routine by flossing your feet every time you brush your teeth.
When you run, your brain is constantly communicating with your muscles to figure out how you can run more efficiently (i.e. with less muscle activation). This involuntarily process explains why all runners become more economical with experience. But you may be able to speed up the process.
Research shows that the neuromuscular system is most likely to discover more efficient ways to move when you push your limits (i.e. fatigue). To do this without risk of overtraining, end some of your easy runs with a “fast finish.” Wait until the last five or 10 minutes of a longer run and then speed up to an effort level of six or seven on a scale of one to 10.
For perfect running form, your legs should move like the hands on a clock (Imagine tracing a clock with your pedal stroke on a bike. That’s where this clock would be in relation to your body.) When you run, think about bringing your foot up to the 12 o’clock position, reaching out to 3 o’clock, striking the ground directly beneath your body at 6 o’clock, then pushing off to 9 o’clock behind you. This circular motion mimics cycling and allows fast turnover.