Having good running form is one of the most important aspects of your running. If you can maintain proper running form this can increase your running efficiency, shave time off your speed, help you improve more quickly, and will reduce the chance of you being injured. Not only that but you will feel better running and as a result will enjoy it even more.
What exactly is running form? It is the technique and mechanics of how your run. This includes your posture, cadence, foot strike, pronation and more. Working on and improving one aspect of your running form will also have benefits and improvements to other aspects of it as well. For instance, having better posture will help your foot strikes land properly.
There are many different ways that you can approach improving your running form, and many different opinions as to what is ideal. Below we have outlined some of the basic things that should be followed to improve your running.
When looking at your running posture something that is heard repeated by many experts is to run tall. To accomplish this, imagine that there is a string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling it straight up. Keep your spine strait, your head up with eyes looking forward, and use your core to provide stability.
Running with good posture will significantly lower the chances of getting hurt, but it will also improve your running. Once you have become used to it, maintaining good posture uses less of your body’s energy, this means that you have more left over for running.
Arms and Hands
Your arms should be held with about a 90-degree bend in the elbow, and your elbows should be held close to your body. When you are running you do not want your arms to cross the center of your body as this will reduce your speed and use more of your energy without purpose. By keeping your elbows close to your body rather than sticking out you will help prevent them from crossing in this way.
The way that you hold your hands may seem like it is insignificant but making this small change can help improve your running form and reduce tension in your body. Many people when that are running have their hands held tightly. It is better to loosen your hands. Have them loose enough so that if you were holding a potato chip it would not be broken. This will conserve energy for your running and will lower the amount of tension not just in your hands but other parts of your body as well.
Foot strike is something that is going to be different for everyone depending on how you naturally run, however there are a few things you can work toward to have a better running form. Ideally you want to hit the ground with your forefoot. This will give you better running efficiency. It is also less likely to cause injuries than if you are heel striking or running on your toes. You also want to make sure that your feet are landing directly below your body, this is easier on your joints, and will make the best use of your energy.
Cadence is simply the technical way of saying how many times your feet hit the ground per minute. This is important because having a proper cadence can reduce stress on the feet, legs, and ankles, while increasing running efficiency. Around 170-180 steps per minute is considered to be an ideal cadence.