Mindful Movement: Four Ways To Run Better

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Mindful Movement: Four Ways To Run Better

Words by Mr Ryan Willms

14 August 2019


Ankle jumps

Whether you’ve always been a forefoot striker or you’re starting over, this is a great warm-up exercise to get your body used to the feeling. The more you can make landing on the forefoot a natural subconscious behaviour while running, the more you’ll be able to focus on other aspects of the run such as breathing, pace or simply taking in the sights and sounds of your surroundings. As you can see here, I land forefoot first, and then let the heel drop. This fires up all of the leg muscles, starting with the feet and ankles, up through the calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. Proper motor recruitment, activating the neurons and muscle fibres in the right order to complete an action, is crucial in stabilising the knees, and not only allows us to run more efficiently but is vital to preventing injury. These ankle jumps are a good way to start retraining from the ground up.


Glute skip

Gluteus stability is one of the most overlooked aspects of running. It’s important in providing power to the stride, to help us climb uphill and stabilise ourselves, from the glute down to the iliotibial band, quad, hamstring and knee. The focus of this skipping movement is to consciously practise enough that the glutes start to automatically fire every time we take off. With each skip, you will integrate the forefoot landing into the stride and, as one leg drives up, consciously fire up the glute in the opposite, grounded leg.


Running on the spot

Running in place for two or three sets of 30 seconds is a good way to get the heart pumping and energy flowing. It also reinforces our stabilisers before we head out for a real run. When we run on the spot, even with shoes on, we can’t help but land on our forefoot – it’s nearly impossible to heel strike while doing this drill.


Barefoot sprints

Whether sprinting is a part of your Hiit workout or your marathon training, it’s an amazing way to move your body, push yourself and have fun. I’d recommend the beach, grass or a track for sprinting if possible, and even better if you can do it barefoot. You’ll find that your body naturally goes straight into forefoot striking from running barefoot. As well as being a great way to burn fat and stimulate faster twitch muscles, it’s a great way to fully integrate all the aspects of proper forefoot running while stimulating your metabolic system, increasing endurance, strength and speed.

Film by Mr Fahim Kassam