"Runners Information Online"

Running Form - Elements Common to
Most Successful Running Styles

Running Form - Bring your awareness to your posture and stride at various points during your run to improve the quality of your form and in turn, your running. Pay attention to and correct your posture while running, to create a forward movement, use less energy and effort, increase speed and endurance, for comfortable running and to lessen risk of and avoid injuries.

Check your form from the bottom (your feet) and move up (to your head) and look for an imaginary vertical line from your grounded foot, to your ankle, hip, up to your shoulder. You should feel as if you are gliding along.

Feet - Land mid-foot and roll toward your toes. Your foot should land directly under your hip. Visualize trying to sneak up on someone while you are running. Your steps should be light, quiet and quick.

Distance-runners will land mid-foot to maintain or build pace. It's a balance between toe-running and heel-striking and provides the benefit of both speed and efficiency. Mid-Foot Striking is better shock absorption, less stress on the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, and better rolling forward onto the next stride than heel or toe running.

Stride - On an incline, reduce stride length while maintaining stride rhythm and breathing rate. On a down slope, increase stride rhythm while keeping your feet low to the ground. Look for a balance between stride length and stride frequency. Over-striding can be the cause of Achilles tendonitis, ITB pain, and iliopsoas muscle pain.

Heel Striking - Land on your heel and roll towards your toe. Distance-runners use this method to conserve energy for running at an easy pace. Landing heel first causes more impact and can be the cause of some injuries and may be the cause of over-striding.

Toe Running - Land on the ball of your foot and spring into your next stride (a diving-board-like action). Sprinters use this technique to shorten the time between strides. It requires use of the relatively small muscles in your lower leg and feet and is difficult to maintain. Landing toes first is not an efficient style for distance running.

Knees - Keep your feet low to the ground. Lifting your knees too high (bouncing up and down) expends energy you could be conserving to maintain/reach your speed and/or distance. Bouncing puts excessive stress on the knees, hip and back A high knee lift is much more important when sprinting.

Knee Lift - You should feel like you are driving your knee forward, not up. A forward knee drive will result in a low to the ground and efficient forward running motion.

Hips - Visualize a a perpendicular line to the ground, passing up through through your hips through your ear.

Torso - Lengthen your tailbone toward the earth and your head toward the sky, maintaining a straight spine. Leaning too far forward or too far back can contribute to lower back pain.

Shoulders - Press your shoulder blades into your back, then widen them across and release them down your back (away from your ears).

Arms - Hang your arms loose beside the torso with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Relax your hands, with your thumb and fingers touching (as if holding a pencil), your wrists should be loose and somewhat floppy. Visualize that you are holding a butterfly in your hands. Your arms should be moving forward along with your body, your hands in-line with your hip bones. Avoid swinging your hand in front of your torso. Keep your hands parallel to your hips.

Head - Press your head very slightly back (as if in a imaginary head-rest) with the underside of your chin parallel to the ground and soften your gaze, scan the horizon and relax your face.