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A Strong Core for Running Matters Part 1

A Strong Core for Running Matters Part 1

Any time of year is the most welcome time of the year for runners.

What makes running so appealing? You simply put on your shoes, walk out your door and run. Being able to run with proper form is not quite as simple. Our unique running mechanics rely on our flexibility and strength. How our bodies are built, will also make a difference in how we run. The goal is to run with great form, avoid injuries, and run with less effort.

Whether you’re going out for a short run or long run, the core muscles play an important role in maintaining a good strong position of the spine and pelvis, and providing support for the axial skeleton. The core muscles are used to stabilize the spine and pelvis during dynamic movement. When you run, it is important to maintain stability in the spine and pelvis while the legs are in motion. This stabilization helps withstand force from any form of exercise. Running can have an impact up to three times your body weight each time you take a step. Strong glutes and flexible hip flexors are an important part of the running stride. Stabilizing the pelvis, as if it were similar to a pendulum, the leg moves from flexion to extension. Each step in running relies on a stable pelvis and spine, in order to maintain proper form. Proper form leads to becoming less injury prone, and helps you move more efficiently.

Here are some tips on proper running form

Let’s start with the position of our head. You want to look straight ahead while you run. Don’t look down and don’t push your head forward.

Shoulders should be neutral and relaxed. Don’t waste your energy on holding your shoulders and creating tension in the neck.

Arms are bent and held close to our bodies. When the arms swing they cross toward the front of our body. Don’t let them cross past the midline of your body. Thumbs pointing up. Relax your hands.

Posture is very important. If you sit throughout your day, this can lead to a flexed forward posture and tight hip flexors, which can lead to less glute activation while running. Glutes will become weak and that’s not good for proper form while running.

It is important to keep the chest and hips open and the spine neutral with its natural curves. You lean slightly forward when you run, but you want to maintain this openness in the chest and hips.

Landing mechanics to think about. Keep the shoulders, hips and knees aligned. Landing on your heel isn’t advised. Your foot contact is longer, rolling through your entire foot. The impact and force through the leg you land on will be higher. Land under the center of gravity. This enables the momentum of continuing forward.

In Part 2 Tanya will go over some exercises and stretches to help you move more efficiently and move toward a more effortless run.


Tanya Branco Scott, Pilates Instructor and Exercise Physiologist. Tanya is a certified Balance Body Pilates Instructor and Exercise Physiologist. She has worked in the health and fitness Industry and cardiology for over twenty years. After earning her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology, she spent several years as a Cardiac Sonographer and Stress Technician at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and Boston Medical Center. As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, with a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Human Performance, Tanya’s is passionate about empowering clients to live the healthiest lifestyle possible through education and exercise prescription. Tanya has interest in writing about health and fitness and has published several articles for fitness magazines. Tanya has particular interest in proper alignment and muscle balance.

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