Let’s Talk about Proper Running Form
Ah, running form. Running seems like a simple concept- just grab your shoes and run right? Mmm…how about half right.
The thing (well, one of the things) I love about running is the simplicity. You don’t need fancy equipment, you don’t (usually) need to drive to a gym, or own a home gym, or anything. You just need your shoes and an open road and you are good to go.
Sounds simple, but through the initial simple surface, running can be very technical and scientific, which the nerd in me (that’s buried very deep) loves. One of those nerdy, “sciency” running things I wanted to talk about today was proper running form. I wanted to talk about this today for a couple reasons.
Proper running form helps us fight against injuries! (HALLELUJAH)
Proper running form allows our bodies to run efficiently, decreasing our time, increasing our endurance, and keeping our legs happy.
Sounds good right?
So, while you are out for your next run, keep these concepts in the back of your mind and watch yourself to see how you are running. I like to look at myself in windows of different stores or mirrors to watch how my strides look. Another way you can check out how your form looks, is by having someone take pictures of your running for you or recording a quick video yourself.
Here are a few things to remember on your next run. Remember, good form = happy body.
- Keep your strides, short, quick and light. Try to avoid over striding (i.e. reaching your feet way ahead of you) to decrease your changes of injury. One way I’ve found this helpful, is to imagine keeping the reach of my legs, directly under my hips/ knees and to keep my steps quick and light. No pounding or straining my legs to reach out way far ahead of me, allowed.
- Keep your knees in line with your feet. Similarly to what we were saying before, make sure that when your foot lands on the ground, it is landing underneath your knee and not in front of it!
- Keep your face and hands relaxed. I find that often runner’s have tight faces, hands, bodies, etc. which is really a waste of energy. If you are exerting energy in keeping tightly clenched fists or a grimace on your face, you are using energy to keep those fists clenched. It is better to shift that energy away from your tight upper body and shift it towards keeping your legs moving. I like to remind myself to relax my upper body and smile.
- Use those abs. While running, try to remember to keep your abs tight. Focus on using your strength from your core and glutes to help you climb those hills. I also try to avoid leaning too far forward at my hips to avoid injury!
- Elbows = 90° Lastly, make sure your elbows are at a 90° angle and swinging loosely at your sides. Make sure that your arms do not cross over too much, but come up right to the half way point of your chest and back down again. No criss-crossing arms, please!
I hope these tips help you improve your running form and keep your body happy and healthy! I know I continually work on my form and there are many ways I know I can improve it. So, don’t be discouraged if these things take a while to implement and your body takes a while to get used to.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend with whatever you may be doing!
Questions of the Day
- Running form – do you pay attention to it at all?
- Name three things you are doing this weekend!
- I have a long run tomorrow, is anyone else running long?! Give me the details!