9 Tips to Improve Your Running Form

Whether you’re a long-time runner or are considering using the treadmill at Fitness First for your cardio workout, improving your running form will help you run efficiently and fast. Using the correct form will also place less strain on your body allowing you to recover faster and even prevent injuries.

Here are some tips that will help you develop and maintain proper running form and technique:

1. Improve your posture.

The posture you maintain when working at your desk, driving to work or while watching TV has a significant impact on your running ability. We spend most of our days sitting, with our hips flexed and shoulders rounded forward. We develop tight hip flexors, weak anterior muscles, and weak glutes that lead to poor posture.

This becomes a problem when we run because the body needs sufficient hip extension and upright stance. So one of the most important ways you can improve your running form is by always sitting with your back and head straight. Direct your eyes ahead of you and keep your neck and jaw relaxed.

2. Don’t overstride.

Landing on your forefoot means you’ll experience a lot more impact and force compared to landing on your mid-foot. You can avoid over-striding by looking for the alignment of the knee and ankle during the first impact. The knee should be flexing on top of the ankle instead of the ankle being on top of the knee.

Try to increase your running cadence by 5% and see if this helps you to avoid over-striding. You’ll feel lighter on your feet. Use a digital metronome and run to the beat so you can increase your cadence.

3. Practice stomach breathing.

Deep abdominal or “stomach” breathing helps you run more efficiently as it maximizes the amount of oxygen intake while you run. Practice this by lying flat on your back and place a book on your abdomen. As you inhale, the book will rise and when you exhale the book will fall.

4. Keep your shoulders relaxed.

When there’s tension in your shoulders, upper back and spine, it will be difficult for your arms to move freely. The arms give rhythm, strength and balance when running and the faster you run, the more you need to use your arms.

5. Run as if you’re holding eggs in your hands

Pretend you have an egg in each hand when you run. Lightly cup your palms and maintain a relaxed grip. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, with each hand gliding gently below your waistline. Elbows should swing between the waist and chest as you pump your arms on each side.

6. Don’t bounce.

Running is a linear motion and attention should be focused on moving forward instead of upward in order to make efficient use of energy. Excessive bounce is due to slow cadence and over striding.

7. Strengthen your core.

Your core strength is a significant limiting factor in your ability to run better and injury-free. Your core along with your glutes are two major muscle groups that are important for maintaining strength and flexibility in the hips, pelvis and lower trunk. Incorporate strength and stability exercises into your workout routine to strengthen them.

8. Land on the middle or front of your foot.

For some runners heel strike is natural, while for others it’s forefoot strike. But if it feels natural, do land on the middle or front of your foot.

9.  Practice the forward lean.

A slight forward lean is a basic running stance. Lean forward from your ankles and keep your core neutral.  To help with ankle mobility do some ankle stretches using a resistance band before and after your run.

If you want to know more running techniques and become a better runner, this video is definitely something you should watch:

Category: Featured