Definitely worth a try: three tricks for easier running

Valentin Belz 21. June 2024


When you are easily overtaken by the fastest runners, you probably wonder how they manage it. They are not only stronger than you, with greater energy reserves, but also have first-class technique. These three tricks will improve your running style.

If you want to run fast, you don’t just need excellent stamina. Speed, strength, agility and excellent coordination are also required. So on close inspection, what is essentially the easiest exercise in the world is actually rather complex: running isn’t just a series of steps, but also the skilful interaction between lots of tendons, muscles and joints. And if you optimise this interaction, you can improve your performance without necessarily having to do more training. Simply by enhancing your muscular interaction, you can achieve a higher speed with the same level of exertion.

Practice makes perfect

Technical training is hard work. You have to repeat a new technique up to 10,000 times until it becomes both familiar and automatic, even under pressure, i.e. at racing pace. This sounds like a lot of effort, but it definitely pays off, because afterwards, you usually not only run faster, but also easier and above all, more comfortably.

Three tricks to try out

Try to incorporate the following three tricks into your training. Ideally into one of your early training sessions in the form of a short technical block to start with, when you are still fresh, and then during all your training or races, if possible.

Run 100 metres and consciously focus on this element. Then stop for 60 to 90 seconds before beginning the second repetition. After five reps, do the next exercise in the same way.

1. Trick: acute elbow angle

Your arms provide momentum for your legs. They are directly linked to your leg movement: if your arms move slowly, because they have a large swing due to a wide elbow angle, for example, then so do your legs. However, if you manage to run with a narrow elbow angle and swing your arms quickly, this rhythm is transferred directly to your steps and your running speed.

2. Trick: smile while running

Olympic medallist and world champion, Eliud Kipchoge, is a role model. He always has a smile on his face, even when giving his all. He does this deliberately, because it reduces his perceived exertion, regulates his breathing and relaxes his muscles, among other things.

3. Trick: hold a piece of wood

Deliberating holding an object helps keep your hands and shoulders relaxed, thereby promoting improved posture and supporting an even, efficient arm movement.