I recently met up with a local high school runner who had his first PR in the mile under six minutes last week. We spend some time going over the racing positon and strategies.

One of the most important factors of racing is to learn how to keep an even pace over the distance. The goal of your racing style is good posture; something that is attained by lining up the head, shoulders and hips directly over the feet. Start by getting up on the toes and leaning slightly forward in a relaxed position from the ankle to the head, then push off with the last bit of weight on the big toe.

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If you are in the proper position when racing, you should be pushing the stress behind you by pushing on the toes instead of slamming down on our heels. This technique will allow more efficient energy to be placed into each step, instead of being placed onto uncontrolled side to side motion. The maximum propulsion from the feet, in the proper direction, will minimize effort.

The upper body has two functions while running: balance and breathing. The motion of the upper body should be relaxed. The arm carry has nothing to do with forward progress, it mainly keeps the runner in balance to compensate for what is going on below. One should breathe with the diaphragm filling the belly with air then the chest.

To run faster for a personal record, the runner now has a better understanding of the physiological and psychological aspects of racing.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials.