With kind permission from his father, shared above is an image showing the difference a small tweak to head position can make to running posture in one of our young multi-sport athletes.
This is just as true in adults.
The simple ‘look forwards not down’ cue worked a treat here, as it so often does.
Why Does it Matter?
I talk a great deal about the importance of pelvic control as a foundation for good posture… but let’s not forget what happens up-top.
Remember, your head is heavy!
Head position while running will in no small way dictate both how hard certain muscles in the neck and upper back will have to work to support it, and the position of the torso. In simple terms; when the head moves forward, so does the upper back.
Besides the brain, the head houses number of other essential pieces of apparatus when it comes to our ability to run. In particular the eyes and the vestibular organs of the inner ear, which provide us with important sensory information about motion, balance etc…
Eyes: Look Where You’re Going
Clearly, we need to look where we’re going! Both for the obvious reason, and due to the fact that we rely heavily on visual information to balance (try balancing on one leg eyes-closed!).
What I specifically want to mention though is how I see so many runners staring at the ground immediately ahead of them as they run. Eyes looking down, head titled forward towards the ground. Remember, if the head tilts forwards, the upper back will normally follow, affecting posture.
Normally when I mention this, trail runners are quick to remind me that they especially need to look at the ground immediately ahead, to check for tree roots, rocks etc…
I agree, but there’s a BIG difference between ‘eyes down’ and ‘head down’.
What Do You Do?
The simple message I want to get across with this quick post is to consider your head position as you next run.
Ideally I’d like to see your head centred, ears over shoulders as you run. Usually I suggest looking at the ground 15-20m ahead of you to achieve this position.
It’s important to glance down when needed as you run, but practice looking ‘with your eyes’ rather than ‘dropping your head’ to do so.