How do you know when you are running with correct form? If you are new to the sport this question can be a bit tricky. As with any sport it is good to get advice from a professional so that you can be sure you are getting into good habits off the bat. It is harder to correct bad habits after they have been formed so it is important to get advice on running form right from the start.
Your entire body is involved in the sport of running, from your head to your toes. It is important to realize that your perfect running form might look a bit different from other runners but what is important is that you are following some basic running rules.
Let’s start at the top of your body and work down, your head. The way you hold your head is very important to how the rest of your body then aligns. This also effects how efficiently your overall run is. Remember to look out in front of you instead of looking down at your feet. Watching where you are going is going to help your posture far more than if you are looking at where you are and have been. This also helps keep your neck aligned straight with your spine bringing your whole body into perfect alignment.
Next we move down to your shoulders. Shoulders are the key element in keeping your body loose and relaxed while running. If you do feel your shoulders starting to get tense and creeping towards your neck it is best to breathe and take a second to shake out your shoulders. Releasing built up tension is the ultimate reason people run. You can help yourself relax and stay in the rhythm you are creating by keeping your shoulders loose and low.
Many people think running is a lower body sport. However, including your arms is an absolute must in keeping a proper running form. Your hands should be unclenched and relaxed with your arms moving forward and backward along to your stride. Try not to move your arms across your body as this will hinder your posture. The best placement of the arms is a ninety degree angle next to your mid section.
The torso is another area that is affected by the positioning of your head, neck and shoulders. If you are looking out in front of you with a relaxed shoulder your torso will automatically come along from the ride. Make yourself as tall as possible in the torso region. This will give your chest room to expand, encouraging air flow and circulation.
What about those hips? Your hips will naturally align correctly if the rest of your body is doing what we have advised above. Don’t allow your hips and pelvis to tip forward. This will put an abundance of pressure on your lower back causing your body to compensate with poor posture.
Your stride is created by your legs. The proper stride length for your body will differ from that of you running partner. Your feet should land directly underneath the body. Then as your foot strikes the ground your knee should be slightly flexible so that upon impact in can take the force and distribute it evenly throughout the body avoiding injury.
Even your ankles and feet come into play when making sure you have the perfect running form. This is easy to say but for some hard to execute. The foot needs to land softly between the heel and mid section of the foot rolling forward to push off again. Keeping your ankles flexible will help with this motion. Never should you hear your feet hitting the ground. You know your form is correct when it bounces off the ground with the feeling of a spring in your shoe.