Tips on Running Form
Keep your stomach muscles engaged to protect your back. Think about pulling your belly button towards your spine to keep a neutral position and avoid allowing your pelvis to roll forward or back to arch
Think about leaning slightly forward, but ensure the lean is from your ankles not hips
Focus on soft landings
If you can feel the insides of your knees touching when you run, squeeze your buttocks muscles and envision your knees pointing straight ahead as you run
Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid swinging your arms across the front of your body, that’s a waste of energy! Pump arms straight forward and backward
Don’t forget to stretch, foam roll, and strengthen your legs to keep yourself healthy and strong enough to run
A large majority of recreational runners demonstrate a fault in running form called overstriding, demonstrated in the above picture (left). Overstriding means your foot is hitting ground far in front of your center of mass. This position leads to a “braking force” where the ground is matching your forward impact with a backwards impact. The braking force makes your running less efficient and can lead to pain with running.
Think leaning slightly forward while running (as in the picture above on the right) with your foot hitting the ground more underneath your body to decrease that braking force, improve the efficiency of your stride, and take a significant amount of stress off your knee joints.
When your foot is hitting the ground very far out in front of your body, it leads to a rapid impact force at foot contact. Because the knee is typically straighter, the force travels quickly up the skeleton causing more impact to be felt in the ankle, knee, hip, and even all the way up to the back.
When you land with your foot closer to your center of mass, you will have more bend in your knee which allows the muscles of your leg to help absorb the force. This position will decrease the force of impact at the knee and hip joints and also improves the push off phase as you unload the “spring” of the muscles in your leg.
If you feel like you need some help with your running techniques, posture, or form, please reach out for a session and we can help give you even more individualized assessment and recommendations to improve your running!
Our next blog will go over some common stretches and exercises that are great for runners - stay tuned!
Written by Christina Beachy, PT, DPT, CSCS