Desert running

How to run

No matter how long you’ve been running for, it’s worth reminding yourself that the way you run matters — although of course if you’ve had running injuries in the past you’re probably well versed in them. If you’re a newcomer to the running world, you’ll work faster, more efficiently, and more safely if you make sure you have good running form.

1. Look ahead

Don’t do the natural thing and look down at the ground when you run. You want to look about 10–20 feet in front, but at the same time keep your chin tucked in. That way you’ll stay safe from passing lampposts and cars, and you’ll see the view if there is one. It also just helps in giving you better running form by straightening out your back and neck.

“girl running on grass field” by Julia Raasch on Unsplash

2. Keep yourself straight and lean forwards

Good running posture involves a straight back, low and loose shoulders, and keeping your head up without straining your neck forwards. Staying upright should open your chest and help you breathe properly. You can then lean forwards and run faster and more easily.

3. Keep your arms bent at waist height

With your hands in a loose fist, your arms should be relaxed at the waist in a 90 degree angle. Let them swing back and forth from the shoulder joint (rather than the elbow) and avoid letting them cross your body. Their movement should help push you forward without being out of control.

“person walking on white flower field” by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

4. Keep yourself loose and relaxed

Staying loose is key to preventing tension. If your shoulders start rising towards your ears or your fists begin to clench just shake yourself out whilst running. Especially if you’re running downhill you should let your arms loose to stabilise your movement.

5. Try to land in the middle of your feet

If you land on the front of your toes you’re putting your calves to work and you’re more likely to get Shin Splints. It’s also a pretty inefficient way to run as it will encourage bouncing. But if you land an your heel you’ll slow yourself down and risk Runner’s Knee. So landing in the middle of your foot and rolling onto your toes is the best way forwards (literally). If you’re struggling, barefoot running naturally guides you to landing in the middle so could be a good way to practice.

6. Keep your strides short

Long lunges are not necessary. Light, short steps will help you land in the middle of your foot. Your feet will stay beneath you rather than well in front and it will also lessen the impact of your strides. Aiming for 180 strides a minute sounds impossible — but even if it is then at least you will do more than normal so it’s worth a try.

7. Don’t bounce

Bouncing wastes unnecessary energy and makes it harsher on your knees as you have further to ‘fall’. If you keep your strides low it will also help keeping your strides short and light.

“person wearing running shoes” by Raka Rachgo on Unsplash

8. Keep checks on yourself

Set yourself up in the habit of checking your running posture and style. You can set yourself milestones throughout your run as monitoring reminders. If you’re running with a partner, you can both try and encourage each other. Hopefully after a while it will become second nature and you will be running as efficiently and as well as possible.

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