How to Practice Good Running Form

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Pixmac000068882037In my quest for improvement I had to finally admit it…  I’m a lazy runner.  Sure, I’m hitting the pavement each day, pounding out my 3 mile route.  But, this seems to be doing me more harm than good.

Most days I pop in my earphones and take off with one of two attitudes:

1)  Weeeee!  this is fun!… where I bound and bounce around like a caged monkey set free.  Or, my bipolar opposite…

2)  Nooooo!  this is terrible!…  where I slunk onto my hips and barely lift my chin from my chest.

Either way – it’s in bad form.  Literally.  And explains the many injuries I have faced over the last year every time I run for any significant length of time.  Well, at least I have learned something!  Now the training begins, from lazy runner – to using good form.  Here’s how:

Head and Neck

Your gaze should fall along the horizon, keeping your head raised from your chest, level with your shoulders, and your neck relaxed.  Avoid the temptation to look down at the ground to admire your pretty florescent shoes you just bought for your next race.  weeeee.

Shoulders and back

Make sure you are running with good posture.  Elongate your spine and engage your core muscles (I do this using the plank exercise before my run – 2, 60 second reps).  Your shoulders should be down and relaxed (shake them out if you catch them creeping up toward your ears) and your chest open for better lung capacity.  breathe.

Arms and Hands

Your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle, with a natural swing.  Avoid crossing your arms over your body.  Your hands should be lightly closed and relaxed.  Shake them out if you find you’re clenching them tightly into fists.  Put your phone down.  it’s okay.

Hips and Legs

Your hips should be centered and squared facing forward with your legs solidly below.  When hitting the ground, your knee should be slightly bent with your  foot placed directly below it.  Try to keep short, fluid strides.  unless someone is chasing you.  then GO! GO! GO!

Ankles and Feet

Bend at your ankle, not at your waist, keeping your weight slightly forward.  As your feet contact the ground, land midfoot to promote a balanced running position and decrease friction.  Resist the urge to come down on your heels or tippytoes.  weeeee.

I have been at this for a few days now.  I am good for about five minutes before I have to readjust, well just about everything.  Making a conscious effort now will only create good habits and form in the future – when I’ll be able to plug back into my mp3 player and weeeee!

How do you maintain good running form?

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