The real way to run


Distance Runner Mario Valenzuela demonstrates the proper “runner’s position.”

Sarah Schisla, Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief

Running is not the “natural skill” that everyone seems to think it is. Without knowing the proper running technique, it is possible that someone could be running incorrectly. There are different techniques for distance running and for sprinting. Cross Country Head Coach Al Schmidt said, “For distance, you primarily want good stride length and to be as relaxed as possible. When you’re sprinting, you really want to focus on keeping your arms in the ‘runner’s position.’” In the runner’s position, the runner’s elbows bend at about a 90-degree angle, and his hands move from chin level at the top of the arm swing to the hip bone at the bottom. “The arms are a part of your running mechanics. Use them,” Schmidt said. Schmidt recommends this technique for both short distance events and for the “home stretch” of cross country races. Varsity Track and Cross Country athlete Nick Korjeff said, “[Utilizing] your arms both [allows you to take] longer, more powerful strides and provides better posture as you run. Schmidt stated, “It keeps you focused on moving in the right direction.” Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, any sidetracking is an unnecessary detour that will only slow the runner down. Like horse blinders, the proper runner’s position can keep one’s focus straight ahead and lead to more efficient running. Inefficiency will tire someone faster, and “distance is all about pacing yourself,” said JV Cross Country runner Mario Valenzuela. Valenzuela said, “Proper technique can make a difference in [how tiring or efficient a run is.] Your body tires out more quickly if your arms aren’t paced [with] your legs. This balance is the key to success in running.” It is important to keep the arms from swinging across the body and to face straight ahead. Korjeff said, “Not taking the longest steps possible– that’s bad. [Use] the power from a spring-like motion of the legs. Make sure to run efficiently. Relax and find a rhythm.