Running is not easy for all kids. Some find it “tiring” or “feel clumsy” when running. But like all things, when we become better at something we begin to enjoy it more. To improve your child’s enjoyment of running, here are some tips to help them improve their running form.
- Keep a tall running posture
It’s important to maintain a tall posture, with their head held high and eyes looking forward. Have them lean forward through their body (but not bending forward at the hips). While running they should aim to keep their head and trunk still, with no side to side or twisting movement in their arms and legs. Have them try to limit their bouncing which will enable them to maintain an efficient running style for longer.
- Use your arms
When running your arms provide you with rhythm, power and balance. When your child runs you want them to keep their elbows bent, with their arms moving backward and forward with their hands gliding past their hips. They should look to keep their shoulders relaxed throughout their running motion and avoid having their hands crossing their body at any point in the stride.
- Run heel to toe
To minimise injury we recommend a running style that lands on the ground with the heel, followed by a push off with the toes and the ball of the feet. This will change for sprinting as we tend to land and push off through the ball of the feet. To encourage heel land, shoes that have a good heel cushion are beneficial to help absorb the load of impact.
Once your child has developed some good running form, it should be easier to begin to build their muscle strength, balance, coordination, breathing fitness (cardiovascular fitness), and power (strength with speed).
To find more starting exercises to safely improve your child’s running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book.
Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, find out more about our six-module running program.