Running is a great way to improve your physical fitness and overall health, but it’s important to have good running form to make the most of your efforts. Proper running form not only helps you avoid injuries but also makes you a more efficient runner, allowing you to use less energy and run faster. When you have good running form, your body is better able to absorb the impact of each foot strike, reducing the stress on your joints and muscles. This means that you’re less likely to experience pain or injuries in your knees, hips, ankles, or feet. By contrast, poor running form can lead to a range of injuries, including shin splints, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis.
Good running form also helps you run more efficiently by reducing the amount of energy you need to expend to cover a given distance. When you run, you’re essentially propelling your body forward by pushing off the ground with each step. With good form, you can use your muscles more efficiently to generate power and momentum, which means you’ll use less energy and be able to run faster for longer periods of time. In addition to reducing your risk of injuries and making you a more efficient runner, good running form can also help you maintain your balance and stability while running. This is particularly important when running on uneven terrain or in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow.
What body parts should i worry about?
To improve your running form, it’s important to focus on each part of your body, from your head down to your feet. By paying attention to your posture, arm and leg movements, and foot placement, you can gradually refine your form and become a stronger, more efficient runner. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, taking the time to develop good running form will help you achieve your fitness goals and enjoy running to the fullest.
Head and neck
- Keep your head level and facing forward, not tilted to either side.
- Relax your neck muscles to avoid tension.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and level, not hunched up towards your ears.
- Swing your arms forward and back from the shoulders, not across the body.
- Bend your arms at 90 degrees and swing them forward and back, not across the body.
- Keep your hands relaxed, with fingers slightly curled.
- Keep your torso upright and facing forward, not leaning forward or backward.
- Engage your core muscles to maintain good posture and stability.
- Keep your hips level and facing forward, not twisted to either side.
- Engage your glute muscles to maintain good form and power.
- Land on the middle of your foot, not on your heels or toes.
- Lift your knees slightly and keep your legs moving forward, not side to side.
- Push off the ground with your toes to generate power.
- Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead, not turned in or out.
- Keep your feet low to the ground and avoid over-striding.
By paying attention to these different body parts and practicing good form, you can improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.
How to actually get good running form
The worst way to try and incorporate all of these into your run, is all at one. That’s like learning to play basketball by starting in an NBA game. Take one at a time and focus your run on that one thing for as long as it takes until it is habit. Instead, focus on one thing at a time until you’ve mastered each. Then, from time to time, reassess each body part to make sure you are using it properly
For instance, let’s say you tend to land your feet on your heel. Spend your next run, purposely landing on your midfoot. And don’t worry about anything else. For instance, maybe you tend to swing your arms across your body instead of back and forth. Don’t worry about it! Just focus on your feet. Do this every run until you’re used to it. Then work on the next thing. After a while, you’ll be an efficient runner in every way, and probably faster too.
Here’s a great video (not mine), showing proper running form: