Proper running form is an essential element for any runner. This article will help you improve and provide the foundations for correct running form.
Running is one of the most effective ways to get in shape. But if you don’t have proper running form, it can end up hurting your body! In this article, I will show you how to ensure you’re doing things right—plus some extra tips that will help you take your workout to the next level.
The foundation of proper running form
Proper form is the foundation of a successful running experience. It includes maintaining proper running posture, keeping an upright torso and head position, striking the ground with your mid-foot or forefoot instead of your heel, and keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle to your body. Additionally, it’s essential to keep your shoulders relaxed and focus on pushing off from the front of the foot rather than the back. This will maximize efficiency and help prevent injuries. With practice, the proper running form will become second nature, and you’ll be able to enjoy running for years to come!
Why proper running form matters
Having proper form is essential for any runner, whether a beginner or an experienced runner. The proper running form will help you run faster and longer while reducing your risk of injury. Good form can make you more efficient by cutting down on the energy you use and letting you use the correct muscles while you run.
The good running form will also help you avoid shin splints, put less stress on your knees and ankles, and make it less likely that you will get hurt while running. Also, if you run with good posture, you’ll be able to breathe better, which can help you run better. Overall, good form is essential for all runners to stay safe and healthy while running and get the most out of their runs.
Other signs of bad running form include soreness in the back, lower back, knees, ankles, and feet, craning the neck forward, looking upwards, hunching the shoulders, and not running fast. Other common mistakes include over-striding, pelvic drop, limited triple extension, and insufficient trunk lean.
Critical Elements Of Correct Running Techniques
The importance of foot strike
For runners of all levels, one piece of advice never gets old: get your foot strike right. That’s because the way your feet hit the ground when you run can greatly impact your performance and injury risk, but beginners often overlook it.
The key is to land on your midfoot or forefoot instead of your heel; make sure your toes are pointed down and relaxed. You’ll be more efficient with every step and use less energy with a proper foot strike. You will also be less likely to get plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and other injuries related to running. So pay close attention to how your feet hit the ground next time you’re out for a run—it could make all the difference!
Heel Strike Running: Most Common Style
When running, most people don’t think about their stride; they take the lead from their shoes. But if you want to run farther, faster, and with fewer injuries, look beyond your footwear and at how you hit the ground. Heel striking has long been the most common running style, but that doesn’t make it the best.
Uniquely, Heel Strike Running is an inefficient way to move. When a runner’s heel hits the ground, it takes all the shock. This can cause pain in the calf muscles and tendons and send surprises up through the torso, slowing you down and possibly causing long-term injury.
Forefoot strike is a form of running where the runner strikes the ground with their forefoot instead of their heel. Runners are increasingly using this technique because it could have benefits like reducing impact forces and making it easier to move forward.
When done correctly, it can help improve stride length and reduce the risk of injury while running. It also lets the runner keep a more upright position and move up and down less, which can help them feel less tired. Proper form and practice are the keys to being good at this style of running. Once runners have mastered the appropriate form, they should be able to increase their speed and distance.
Mid-foot Strike Running
A midfoot strike is a way to run in which the middle of the foot hits the ground. This spreads the shock of impact over the whole foot. It is thought to be the most “neutral” strike, and it helps your body absorb the impact of running better. The outside edge of the middle of the foot lands first, then flattens so that both the forefoot and heel are on the ground.
The importance of cadence
Cadence, or stride rate, is the number of steps a runner takes per minute. It is the number of times your feet hit the ground per minute (think “one-two-three-four”). The average cadence for an adult runner is 180 steps per minute for men and 170 for women. If you’re unsure what yours is, ask a friend to count how many times your left foot hits the ground in 30 seconds as you run at a leisurely pace on the level ground. Increasing cadence helps you keep moving forward, reduces the force of impact, and makes it possible for your body to move differently. It applies to walking and running and is measured in steps per minute (SPM).
The importance of stride
Stride length is essential for maintaining proper running form, as it should be kept under the body when running. It also correlates directly to running speed, so it’s okay to shorten stride length when trying to run slowly. Additionally, stride length impacts arm swing since arm movements should naturally mirror leg movements. Finally, stride length and stride turnover are the two main factors that determine a runner’s speed, with increasing either ability increasing speed.
The importance of posture
Good posture is essential when running, as it can help improve efficiency and form. It can reduce stress on the knees, hips, and back and help you stand up straight on a treadmill. To keep their shoulders from sagging, runners should engage their core, keep their heads up, and keep their heads up.
The right way to run is to lean slightly forward, look straight ahead, keep your shoulder blades still, bend your elbows about 90 degrees, keep your core stable, lift and flex your knee, push off with your toes, and engage your body. Additionally, runners should stand tall and proud with their shoulders pulled back. Good running form is essential for running more economically and efficiently.
The importance of your core muscles
Running requires a lot of energy, and it’s essential to have strong core muscles to succeed. Your core muscles keep you stable and give you the power to move. They are essential for running well. They also help maintain good posture throughout your run. Strong core muscles help with better running balance, so you can avoid injuries and keep up your pace.
Additionally, strong core muscles mean you will use less energy while running, as they help support the body’s weight. In addition to running, it’s important to do core exercises regularly to strengthen these muscles. This will translate into a more efficient, decisive run each time you lace up your shoes. Staying focused on strengthening your core muscles from head to toe is integral to becoming a better runner.
Tips to improve your running form – Correct Running Techniques
Keeping your body straight and relaxed is the key to proper alignment, which is essential for your running stride and your health and wellness. Keep your head up, shoulders back and relaxed, chin up, chest out, and don’t bend at the waist. Let gravity do its job as you run—standing tall instead of leaning forward while you sprint or jog. If you have questions about this form aspect, check out our blog post on how to run with good posture!
Look straight ahead; don’t look at the ground.
Now that you know to keep your head up, it’s time to consider which direction to look. The answer is straight ahead.
Don’t look down at the ground or anything else in front of you. Don’t watch other runners around you, either—they may be close enough to trip over, but they’re not going anywhere important, and watching them does nothing for your running form or pace. Looking down also makes it harder to see obstacles, such as roots and rocks on the trail or puddles in the street (not that we’d recommend running in the rain). The same goes for looking up: don’t get distracted by trees, telephone lines, clouds, or birds flying overhead.
Relax the upper body
Relaxation is key to good running form, but it’s not easy for many of us to achieve. Our bodies are conditioned to tense up in certain situations—whether because we’re nervous or uncomfortable or simply because our minds have been trained to do so by muscle memory.
If you’ve ever found yourself tensing up while running, try noticing how your body feels. Are your shoulders hunched up? Are your fists clenched? Is your breath short and shallow? Has fear caused the muscles in your stomach and core to tighten up? Try doing some deep breathing exercises before heading out on the run. This will help relax and loosen those muscles, so they don’t tense up when their job is finished later.
Remember that relaxing does not mean going limp like a rag doll; instead, it means keeping loose instead of rigidly stiffening against whatever challenges lie ahead of you (or at least trying). This may feel unnatural—the human tendency is usually toward bracing oneself—but if done correctly, it will help prevent injury by giving muscles room without overstretching them unnecessarily or causing unnecessary fatigue during long distances
Increase running cadence
A shorter stride length means less time on your feet and less impact on your joints and muscles. When you increase your cadence, you will naturally take shorter strides. This will help keep you from overstriding, which can cause injuries like shin splints or IT Band Syndrome (Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome).
It also helps with efficiency because there is less energy wasted in each stride, which means more energy can be conserved for future use. This is especially important for long-distance runners or competing in races where every ounce of energy counts!
Relax your arms, shoulders, and hands.
The key to good running form is to keep your body relaxed and loose. If you have tense muscles, it will slow you down.
Arms – Keep them hanging loosely at your sides when running or at least slightly bent at the elbows so that they are not stiffly straightened out in front of you (this will also help with balance).
Shoulders – Don’t hunch your shoulders up towards the ears or let them collapse downwards; keep them level (or even slightly back) to maintain good posture.
Hands – Your hands should be open naturally with fingers curved naturally rather than clenched into fists. This allows for better balance and helps maintain an upright posture without having to hold onto anything else, like someone else’s hand, which could cause problems if they aren’t paying attention.
Breathe deeply from your diaphragm, not your chest.
When running, you should breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. When you live in and out, don’t hold your breath—this is especially important if you are running up a hill or climbing stairs, as this can lead to hyperventilation and dizziness. Take in enough oxygen to allow your muscles to function correctly without discomfort.
Take shorter, quicker steps.
If you want to run with better form, take shorter steps. When running down a school hallway, it’s easy to think that the best way to get from point A to point B is by taking long strides and getting there as soon as possible. But this isn’t always the case when it comes to running. You should instead shorten your stride and land on the balls of your feet rather than flat-footedly landing on your heels. In other words, don’t overstride!
When running correctly, don’t lean forward or backward (but keep an upright posture). Also, try not to lean toward either side when turning corners; instead, ride in a clockwise direction if turning right or counterclockwise if turning left (this will help keep your balance).
Run from your hips, not your legs or feet.
Running is a natural motion that can be ruined by how you hold yourself while running. Don’t run with your hands on your hips; this tells the body to move differently than it would naturally. Running with one hand on each hip also causes you to sway back and forth, and side—to—side— all of these movements are inefficient for running!
Instead, focus on keeping both hands relaxed at waist level (or slightly higher), but don’t let them fall behind or below waist level either—this will tell the body to drop its center of gravity and slow down unnecessarily.
Keep your shoulders straight and relaxed.
Keeping your shoulders relaxed and straight is critical to correct form. Over-tightening or hunching up will only wear you down and worsen your condition, so try not to do either. You should also avoid letting your shoulders roll forward, which can lead to an injury if not corrected early in the process.
Proper Running Form = Sustainable Running
When you run, your body is in constant motion. Your feet, knees, and hips move in different directions and speeds. Arms swing back and forth. Core muscles work to stabilize your spine.
You can’t stop for even a moment without disrupting the entire chain of motion. And that’s why running form matters so much. It’s not just about how you look while running but also how well your body functions as you do it.
Poor running form can cause injuries, but excellent running conditions can prevent them, so it’s essential to be mindful of how you run and learn what proper running form looks like.
What is proper distance running form?
Proper distance running form involves maintaining an upright posture, relaxed shoulders, and a midfoot strike.
What does proper running form look like?
Proper running form includes a slight forward lean, relaxed arms, and a quick turnover of the legs.
What is proper running form?
Proper running form involves maintaining a tall posture, relaxed upper body, and a balanced stride.
What is proper running form on treadmill?
Proper running form on a treadmill includes keeping your body centered, avoiding bouncing, and using the handrails minimally for balance.
What is proper long distance running form?
Proper long distance running form involves maintaining an even pace, conserving energy, and maintaining good posture throughout the run.
What is the proper running form?
The proper running form includes a slight forward lean, relaxed arms, and landing softly on the midfoot.
What does proper running form feel like?
Proper running form feels smooth, efficient, and comfortable. It minimizes fatigue and reduces the risk of injury.
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.