5 Tips to Improve Your Running Form

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Running can be a great addition to your fitness plan. If done properly, you can increase your distance and speed by using the correct form.

Proper running technique is a challenge; allow time and patience for your body to adapt to the demands of the sport.

Here are five tips to improve your form:

Your Running Posture
Hold your head high, centered between your shoulders, and your back straight. Focus your gaze ahead of you instead of straight down. Relax your jaw and neck. Keep your shoulders relaxed and parallel to the ground.

Arms and Hands
Lightly cup your hand as though you were holding an egg. Keep your wrists loose. Bend your elbows at approximately a 90-degree angle with your hands gliding past your waistline. As your arms pump along your sides, your elbows should swing somewhere between your chest and waistline. Pumping your arms at a faster rate will allow for faster leg turnover.

Deep abdominal or "stomach" breathing is ideal for running. To practice belly breathing, lie flat on your back with a book on your abdomen. Slowly inhale as you watch the book rise, and then lower the book by slowly exhaling.

Foot-strike refers to how, where, and when the foot hits the ground. Your foot should strike the ground from heel to toe. This will help prevent injury from over pronation or supination.

Run to the Hills  
While going uphill, pick up your knees and shorten your stride while increasing your stride rate. Pump your arms at a slightly faster pace, keeping in mind that the steeper the hill, the more arm motion you will need to climb uphill. Lean into the hill as if you were on skis.

While running downhill keep your body at the same angle as the hill and lower your arms. Try to land lightly on the ball of your foot.

Keep in mind...whether you're walking or running...it's better than being in a car!

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