I never used to pay attention to my posture, footstrikes, my arm carriage ever. I just thought, hell, if I can run steady and fast enough, I can increase my miles and I'll improve.
Never knew all of these things can dramatically improve my performance.
After finishing a couple of chapters about the mechanics of running, here's what I gathered.
I've always breathed on a 2:2 rate. Two steps for every breath in and two steps for every breath out. Apparently, that's one thing I'm doing right. My book also states that, "as you run faster, you may have to breathe more often, which leads to such variations as 2:1 and 1:2 patterns" (The Everything Running Book).
Another tip I learned today:
"A secret to breathing better when you run is to remember to put a little more force into your exhalation. Your body will naturally inhale to make up for this, which in turn will improve your breathing efficiency"
Footstrike denotes how your foot lands on the ground. Example) Do I run on my toes? Or on my heel to toe? Do I stomp my feet down?
Beginners and intermediate runners should be using the heel-ball technique. This supposedly absorbs the shock and prevents less stress on the calf muscles.
Everyone's different. Some have really long strides, others may have the short ones.
I tend to have short strides but I do bounce a lot, which can cause injuries.
Apparently, bouncing/bounding can mean that I'm "overstriding"
Shortening your strides AND eliminating bouncing can conserve energy that can be "better used to propel yourself forward" (The Everything Running Book).
"A good rule of thumb is for your heel not to strike the ground too far in front of your knee. Some running experts feel that a short stride is a sign of inflexibility. Proper stretching after a run can help to improve your flexibility, which can lengthen your stride..." (The Everything Running Book)
Whenever I do hills, especially downhill, I tend to lean back. Research says that it is best to maintain the same effort level when running uphill, lifting knees up a bit and shortening your stride.
Now for the downhill part...Using gravity as an advantage, it's best to lean a little bit forward to maintain posture "in relation to the ground, as if you were running on the flat."
These are all helpful tips that I will have to keep in mind next time (hopefully within two days) I run.
I'm off to read some more!