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How Is Your Running Form?
One of the many things you can do to significantly reduce your split times is to constantly monitor your form while running. This is mark of the professional runner, experienced runners concentrate on breathing and form, while running and newbies try to think about other things. After running for a while you will find that concentrating on your running form can improve your over all race times quite a bit. Some of the things you need to watch are listed here.
Keep your head up, arms down and look straight ahead. You can breathe much better with your head up because your rib cage is expanded but when you are bent over there is less room to breathe. If there is a natural tendency to lower your head, look down, lean forward and raise your arms, work to avoid it.
Breath slow and controlled. In some people there a natural tenancy to panic and begin rapid uncontrolled breathing. This rapid breathing and the accompanying rapid movements of your diaphragm is what causes those familiar chest pains associated with running. This also is the most inefficient way to breath taking only small amounts of air. When breathing slowly you can take in much larger volumes of air and thus go run faster with considerably less effort.
Intake air when your rib cage is expanded. This just seems like common sense, but if you stop reading right now and watch while you intake a lungful of air you may be surprised that you exhale with your ribcage expanded! Reversing this process is difficult because it is so automatic. Your chest should be expanded on the intake to get the maximum amount of air.
Keep your muscles relaxed. This too seems like common sense but also is more difficult than it seems. Different people have different muscles tense up while running and then become sore and painful thus interfering with their running. For example if you constantly hold up your arms this can keep your shoulders tense and after a while this can cause shoulder pain in the area of your collarbone. Your arms should hang at your sides.
Try all of the things above and you will be surprised at the improvement in your running ability! Good luck in the 5K times!