Proper Running Form

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dedicating more attention to developing proper running form is time well spent.  Running properly requires a lower expenditure of effort and energy.  Additionally, you will place less stress on your lower extremities which significantly reduces the risk of injury.

The foundation of proper running form is the placement of your head.  I witness so many runners focusing on the road just a few feet in front of them.  While it’s important to periodically check the surface you’ll soon be approaching, your head should be focusing ahead and at the horizon.  Your shoulders, torso and hips are more likely to fall into place if your head is properly positioned.

Shoulders should be in a low and relaxed position.  Many runners carry a lot of tension and stress in their shoulders which unnecessarily drains them of energy.  The torso should be kept upright…bending forward will cause the hips to tilt forward and place stress on your lower back.

A common mistake is to overstride.  Intuitively it makes complete sense to think the longer your stride the more ground you will cover.  However, the cost of energy to propel your body weight the length of an excessive stride and what happens upon impact is too high a price to pay.  Keeping your feet beneath your body at a stride rate of 180 SPM (steps per minute) is ideal and minimizes the stress on joints and ligaments.  Attempt to land softly with a powerful lift-off with each footstrike. 

Running form tends to deteriorate throughout the run, particularly when energy levels diminish and fatigue sets in.  Being mindful of your body position and form throughout your run will serve you well.  Proper running form will allow you to cover your normal distance with far less effort.  So place more attention on maintaining proper form throughout each run and you’ll experience many of the aforementioned benefits for your effort!

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