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Why Perfect Running Form is an Important Sport Skill

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The sport skill I chose to write this paper on is perfect running form. As an athlete who runs all three seasons I thought that this would be the most beneficial to my growth as an athlete. Through research I found two helpful articles to help me understand how to reach the perfect running form. The first on runnersworld.com by Jane Unger Hahn titled, “The Perfect Form”. The second on livehealthy.chron.com by Judy Kilpatrick titled, “What Are the Different Muscles You Use When You Run & Bike?” In the first article Hahn lists and describes seven different body parts that contribute to the perfect form a runner desires. These body parts are the head, shoulders, arms, torso, hips, legs and feet. These body parts can be divided into two groups, the upper body (head, shoulders, arms and torso), and the lower body (hips, legs and feet). In the second article Kilpatrick details the types of muscles associated with running. An understanding of both of these articles can help any athlete achieve the perfect running form that they desire.

In the upper body portion Hahn details the involvement of the head, shoulders, arms and torso in achieving the perfect running form. First she talks about the head. She says that you should always keep your gaze looking straight ahead. By doing so a runner’s posture will improve by bringing their neck and back into alignment. This improved posture will allow the rest of a runner’s body to perform as it naturally should without complications from being out of place. The second body part she details is the shoulders. Hahn says that shoulders should remain loose and untight. If they become tight they’ll make a runner’s entire upper body tighten up leading to less movement and worse results. The third body part is the arms. According to Kilpatrick the arms involve the use of your biceps muscles to move them forward. Hahn says the elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle and the arms should shift forward and back as opposed to across a runner’s body. This will allow a runner to move straight without much movement from side to side and also promote good drive in conjunction with one’s legs. The last body part in the upper body that Hahn details is the torso. She writes that in keeping an upright torso a runner’s back will also remain straight leading to optimal lung capacity and stride length while running. The next portion Hahn details in reaching the perfect running form is the lower body parts.

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The first lower body part Hahn writes about is the Hips. She writes that they are a runner’s, “center of gravity”. They work in conjunction with a runner’s torso so when optimal posture is reached so does optimal hip placement. If posture is off the hips can force your body to lean forward causing your pelvis to be out of place and throwing other parts of your body out of alignment. This leads to improper form that will throw a runner’s race off. The next lower body part detailed is the legs. The legs involve the use of a runner’s quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. The quadriceps promote knee extension and absorb the impact a runner feels when colliding with the ground. The hamstrings work on hip extension while the calf muscles help with knee and ankle flexibility and overall balance. For distance running Hanh writes that a runner looks to be able to use short strides with quick turnover with a slight knee lift. This will lead to a runner’s foot landing under their body leading to optimal form. This leads to the last body part the feet. A runner’s foot should land between the heel and the midfoot with a quick turnover to thrust a runner’s body off of the ground. This coupled with the rest of the body parts listed will lead to the perfect running form.

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