One of the great things about being a runner is consistently finding helpful, knowledgeable and supportive fellow runners.
To set the stage for future running form improvements I'm in the midst of strengthening my weak core, especially my abs, glutes and hip abductors. BuckeyeOutdoors.com provides a great means to seek-out other runners' advice while simultaneously receiving - and providing - motivation. This is easily done through the numerous challenge groups. Through this venue I recently received an excellent collection of applicable advice and video links, which I decided to post.
"Build a strong core and rest more regularly. Power hike uphill to develop strong core muscles, since proper technique is to use the glutes to push uphill in liu of most peoples' tendency to pull themselves up which puts extra stress on the quads and hips. Exercises such as bridges on a stability ball or squats help with this glutes focus."
"An workout tip for core work and other exercises is to keep your knees behind your toes. For example, when doing squats, bend backwards when squatting, like you're sitting down on a chair and keep the knees behind or above the toes. If the knees move ahead of the toes, too much stress can be put on the knees and the hips won't be able to support the upper body properly."
"Once you have developed good core strength, your running will change to where the work is done in the core and allowing gravity to work for you more effectively. As you become tired - or if your core is weak, you'll have the tendency to "sit back" on your hips. This puts them too far back for ideal alignment requiring significantly more use of your glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles to compensate. This posture tends to increase the amount of impact your joints are taking as your muscles can not assist to dissipate the impact like a spring. It is rare to see a person who runs with their hips "too far forward", but when you do, you'll know it. They look like a stiff board and appear to be leaning backward as their hips will be in front of their shoulders. A good reality check for everyone is have a friend video you running after you are warmed up then to have someone competent at assessing proper running form review it. It doesn't lie! You'll probably be surprised how different you actually look when running as opposed to how you THINK you're running!"
Lie on the floor on your back with legs up against the wall and butt against the wall also. Engage the core and you should feel the stretch in the lower back, hamstrings and calves. The stretch can be intensified by pulling the toes back towards the shins. Alternatively crouch in a skier's tuck position - legs wider than the shoulders, knees behind the toes, hands about a foot in front of the feet gently clasped together, and head up looking forward. The stretch is intensified by gently lifting the butt upwards. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds, then release; repeat as needed.
Finally, a simple stretch but always effective stretch is to bend over and hang your hands towards the floor with the legs having only a slight bend. Control the stretch by reaching for the floor, then easing. Stretches should always be done gently, no ballistic movements, and remember to breathe. After taking a deep breath, try to extend a bit further on the exhale.
IT Band Stretches:
Use Gliding discs:
Runners World's Videos
From Core Values:
Other Runners World Video Links:
LoLo Jones' Abs Workout:
Building Core Strength, Part 2:
I was also pointed to Matt Hart's site, and his Core 600 Workouts:
Finally, as my blog friend Chris just posted a couple of good related video links I'm pasting same below.
Total Body Workout: