Strategies: Running Right

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, April 1996

Strategies: Running Right
By Mark Jannot

While Stu Mittleman is mostly known for preaching slow going, that's only half his equation: He's just as likely to take you to task for your form. "Any time your body isn't aligned, you can't distribute stress properly," says Mittleman. "You're increasing the likelihood that you're going to break down." So when you go for your next run, pay attention to getting it straight.

Practice Proper Motion
Too often, Mittleman says, runners bounce off the balls of their feet in an exaggerated up-and-down motion. "Running is more flat-footed," he says. "Don't think of it as pushing off, but as lifting your feet just enough to let the earth pass beneath them."

Relax Your Entire Body
If you're tense, every stride reverberates harshly throughout your body. Start the unwinding with your hands: They should be loose, not balled into fists. "Imagine butterflies fluttering in your hands," Mittleman advises, "and your fingers closed just enough to contain them."

Center Yourself
"Picture a line drawn down the axis of your body," says Mittleman. "Concentrate on making the feeling on the left the same as on the right. That evenly distributes weight."

Breathe deeply from your lower abdomen so that your stomach, not your chest, expands and contracts. This can help with relaxation and lets you take in more air.

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