Whether you are training for a marathon or running around the block, proper running form is the most important piece to the puzzle. There are a few key steps (pun intended) to take in order to run efficiently and reduce your risk of injury.

Photo Credit: Clever Training

Proper Running Form

Head: In line with your shoulders, not hanging forward or leaning back. Keep jaw in the “relaxed position” which is teeth slightly apart, lips closed, and tongue on the roof of your mouth.

Hands: Relaxed and soft like you are holding something fragile.

Shoulders: Back and down away from your ears. You test this by actively raising them up, then dropping them back down to where they belong.

Arms: Keep elbows bent to 90 degrees and your arms should swing forward and back in front of you; they do not cross the mid-line of your body.

Feet: Most runners should strike at their mid-foot. Walkers do a heel strike and sprinters are more up on their toes. Doing a heavy heel strike while running can create many different types of injuries.

To perform a self assessment of the amount of side-to-side swaying or excessive rotation through your pelvis, do the “Hands on Head” drill. Start by interlocking your hands on your head. Next, focus on keeping your core tight and stand straight while keeping the hips and shoulders level and relaxed. Then simply start jogging. This drill will help you to eliminate any left-to-right movement through the hips and help reduce swinging your arms across your mid-line.

Continue to check in with yourself to see if you are holding yourself too rigid. There should be a fluidity to your gait pattern to allow yourself to move, glide, and work efficiently.

Watch our video below for a demonstration.

Running Stretches

We’ve included pictures of Diane demonstrating the standing piriformis, hamstring, and quad stretches. These are great static stretches that can be done after your run to relax and lengthen your hamstring and hip muscles. Hold each one for 15-20 seconds, then do 2 times alternating each leg.

proper running form stretches

proper running form stretches

proper running form stretches

It should be a little fun…especially at 4:30am with an amazing friend! 🙂

Wear bright colors and stay safe out there!

Megan, Diane, Chelsea, Ryan, and Leah