Having a proper running form really pays off! Not only will be you be able to run faster, more efficiently, be more comfortable, reduce your injury risks and even your risk of fatigue to help give you one heck of a great run!
1. Eyes Ahead
Not only does having your eyes glued to your feet add strain to your neck and shoulder muscles and added stress and tension to your body, but it also disrupts your posture and actually makes it more difficult to remain in stride.
So, don’t stare at your feet. Keep your eyes focused ahead of you, either on the ground a good distance ahead of you (around 6 meters). This way you can also actually see where you’re headed to avoid any surprise obstacles in your path.
2. Perfect Posture
It is so incredibly important to maintain a good straight posture for your running form.
Your head should be up and erect, your back straight and your shoulders levelled to make sure you’re not slouching. Also, make sure you’re not leaning forward with your head while you’re running, so pull your head back until you can feel your neck straighten out, with your ears above your shoulders.
You might need to keep constant tabs on your posture, as it is very easy to get tired mid-run and begin to slouch, which is really counterproductive because it will only make you even more fatigued even quicker and can put you at risk of experiencing pain in your neck, shoulders and back.
A quick fix is to simply push your chest out every time you can feel yourself slouching, or to naturally straighten your back and pull your head back to level your ears with your shoulders again- this should quickly fix your running form.
3. Relax Your Shoulders
A quick way to give yourself aches around your upper body is by not relaxing your shoulders. Your shoulders should be relaxed and facing forward instead of hunched over.
If you round your shoulders too far forward, this will tighten the chest and restrict effective breathing – which in turn will lead you to more fatigue. Not only will you breathe easier with relaxed shoulders, but you’re far less likely to ache around your upper body due to stress and tension.
To make sure your shoulders are relaxed, make sure they’re not shrugged up to your ears, drop them and pull back your shoulders a little.
Check out our article on How to Breathe Properly when Running (so you’re not out of breath)
4. Keep Hands at Your Waist
Your hands should be waist level, to a point they might brush against your hip lightly now and then. Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and fairly loose.
As you get tired, you might notice that you’re beginning to hold your hands up around your chest – which is gonna lead to a lot of tension in the shoulder and neck area due to tightness. So try to bring them back down to waist level to fix your running form.
5. Arms by Your Sides
You should try to avoid your arms swinging side-to-side, meaning they cross over your chest or overlap. By doing so, you’re more likely to disrupt your posture, which will prevent you from breathing efficiently. Ultimately this can lead to side stitches and fatigue because of the shallowness of your breath.
If you notice your forearms beginning to move up to your chest, allow your arms to drop by your sides and even give them a little shake before repositioning them back at waist level with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.
6. Rotate Your Arms From the Shoulder
It is natural for your arms to swing back and forth vertically when you’re running, but it’s your job to make sure your arms swing back and forth from your shoulders and not from your elbows.
To make sure you’re doing this relax your shoulders and swing your elbow back. On its way back, relax it complete and let it dive forward instead of pushing it forward yourself.
You can tell you’re doing it right if your hand almost grazes your hip as your arm comes back in front of you.
7. Keep Your Hands Relaxed
While you’re running, it can be very easy to tightly fist your hands. However, this unnecessary tension can travel from your hands to your arms and eventually your shoulder and neck. As you run, keep not just your hands, but your arms, as relaxed as possible.
Shake your hands off if you need to and then hold them loosely by your waist with your arms by your waist and your shoulders relaxed.
8. No Bouncing
If you bounce when you run, the up and down movement of your head and your body lead to a lot of waste of energy. The higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater the shock you have to absorb when landing – and ultimately the faster your legs will fatigue.
To avoid this and save energy and avoid fatigue, run lightly, and make a note to land lightly on your feet. Your stride should be low to the ground and your steps should be short and light.
Stomping is a big no and will tire out your legs in no time!
You can opt for getting a knee strap to help give your joints some more support.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Real Runner!