Whether you’re training for a half marathon or you simply enjoy hitting the pavement, running is a great form of exercise. Many people enjoy running as part of their daily routine.
However, it’s important to know that you can’t fully take advantage of the many benefits of running if you’re not following good running form tactics. Having good running form helps you prevent injuries and improve your skills.
To help you learn how to have the best form possible, we’ve put together this handy running form guide. Let’s dive in!
Signs Your Running Form Is Off
When you run, you should expect it to be difficult. However, you shouldn’t expect it to hurt. If running is causing you pain, that’s an indicator that something’s wrong.
Listen to your body as you run. You shouldn’t be experiencing sharp pain in your legs, neck pain, soreness in the back, or any other type of serious physical discomfort.
It’s not just pain that happens during running that can indicate you’ve got bad running form. You shouldn’t feel pain after your run, either. This can indicate that your form is off and that something needs to change.
Here are a few signs that your running form is off:
- Shoulder pain
- Neck pain
- Pain in your hips or hip flexors
- Knee pain
- Elbows that shoot to the sides
- Overly fatigued muscles
- Excessive and recurring soreness in the muscles
- Difficulty breathing even on easy runs
Any of these signs could be an indicator that you need to readjust your posture on your run. Doing so can help you get rid of these unwanted side effects and can improve your running skills overall.
What Proper Running Posture Looks Like
Proper running form is actually fairly simple and straightforward. It’s a full-body posture that helps you to run quickly without incurring any injuries in your body.
To start, you should make sure that your head and neck are facing forward. They should be in a neutral position with your gaze focused roughly ten to twenty feet in front of you. Keeping your eyes focused at this distance helps you avoid tripping, and it keeps your body aligned.
You should also make sure that your shoulders are relaxed. Your arms, too, should be relaxed, but you want to keep a slight bend in the elbows. When your arms are relaxed but pumping at your sides, they help you to keep moving forward in a straight line.
Next, you want to check in with your torso and core. You can hinge forward a little bit at the hips, but you don’t want to overdo it. In general, your torso should be upright and tight.
Leaning forward slightly will help to keep your body moving forward and can increase your speed. Overdoing it, however, can lead to injury.
How to Handle Cadence and Footstrike
It’s not just your body posture that matters when you’re running. You also need to make sure that you have good cadence and footstrike. This is part of ensuring you’re in good running form.
Footstrike refers to the way that your feet hit the ground as you run. Cadence refers to the number of steps that you run in a minute. Both footstrike and cadence are important for running correctly.
To help you change the way your footstrike works, you’ll want to make sure you have a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes. Choose shoes that offer you enough ankle support to avoid sprains. Make sure they have a soft, comfortable interior.
Once you’ve found a good pair of shoes, you’re ready to hit the ground running – literally! Your foot may strike the ground at a different part of the foot when you run, but this isn’t important. What matters is the rest of your posture as your foot strikes the earth.
Firstly, your foot should hit the pavement underneath your body rather than far out in front or behind you. This helps you maintain your balance and absorb the shock as you touch the ground.
On top of that, you should keep your knees slightly bent when you run. This helps you effectively distribute the shock from the ground and reduces the chance of injury in the hips.
Experts haven’t agreed on the perfect cadence for a runner, but there are certainly some tips that can help you achieve one that works for you. Having a good cadence helps you reduce your risk of injury.
If your cadence is off, you may find yourself overstriding. Overstriding means taking larger steps per minute. When you overstride, you put pressure on your joints.
People who aren’t training for a marathon or other running event don’t need to worry as much about their cadence as long as they’re not overstriding. However, making sure that you aren’t trying to take too many steps per minute can make it easier for you to run for longer periods of time.
Nail Your Running Form
Having good running form can help you take advantage of the many health benefits of this form of exercise. Plus, it helps you avoid injuries such as strains or sprains.
If you have suffered from running injuries, you can help readjust your body alignment and make things right with help from the team at Revitalize Rehab Club. Get in touch and we’ll help you set up a physical therapy appointment so that you can get back on your feet and start running again!