Proper Running Form: Running is great exercise but can be harmful to the body if done incorrectly. Learning ways to improve your form will make you less likely to suffer from injuries, maximize your time, and increase stamina. Ways to improve each stride include:
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #1 Posture
Head should be held high and centered between the shoulders with your back straight. Relax shoulders and keep them parallel to the ground. Be sure to relax your jaw and neck, too. Keep your gaze ahead instead of the ground.
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #2 Arms & Hands
Lose the fists! Keep your hands open and lightly cupped as though you were holding an egg. Bend your elbows at approximately a 90-degree angle with your hands gliding past your waistline. As your arms come up along your sides, your elbows should swing between your chest and waistline. Pumping your arms at a faster rate will allow for faster leg turnover.
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #3 Breathing
Deep abdominal or "stomach" breathing is ideal for running. Practice breathing with your diaphragm. Slowly inhale and notice your stomach expand, and then flatten by slowly exhaling.
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #4 Foot-Strike
Foot-strike refers to how, where, and when the foot hits the ground. When touching the ground, the heel of you foot should strike the ground before your toe. This helps prevent injury from over pronation or supination.
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #5 Run to the Hills
Pick up your knees and shorten your stride while increasing your stride rate when running up hill. Lean into the hill as if you were on skis. Pump your arms at a slightly faster pace, keeping in mind that the steeper the hill, the more arm motion you will need to climb uphill.
Proper Running Form - Tips for Improvement: #6 Watch Your Pace
Surprisingly, running at too slow of a pace can cause injury. If your steps per minute (spm) are less than 160, you are at a higher risk for lower led injuries. Find out your spm by counting one foot’s landing for 30 seconds and multiplying by four. To reduce stress on the hip and knee joints, try increasing your speed by between five and ten percent.
Ways to improve your running form: #7 Push Off
You need to remove, or at least minimize, the pull component in your strides. Push forward as you would when you are kicking off on a skateboard or scooter.