Running Form Tips



There are many things you can start doing and stop doing to improve your running form to achieve optimal economy. EFFICIENT runners are FAST runners!


  • Cross your arms over your midline: When your arms cross over your midline (your belly button) you are transferring energy side to side instead of FORWARD. Forward motion = faster motion!

  • Run tensed up: Instead, think about relaxing your arms into a 90 degree angle. Pretend you are holding chips in your hands that you don’t want to break. Think about getting your shoulders out of your ears!

  • Slouch: Slouching most often occurs because you aren’t engaging your core. Think about running TALL, almost like you have a string being pulled from your feet to your head to make you run upright. This will allow for better breathing!


  • Think “ quick feet”: Think about quick feet rather than a longer stride! In order to achieve the optimal 180 steps per minute (cadence), you need to quicken your foot strike, NOT lengthen it! If you have a running watch that records cadence data, take a look and see if you need to quicken your foot.

  • Run with your feet under your center of mass: Think about your feet falling right underneath your body instead of out in front of your body. Note that some runners will naturally forefoot, midfoot, or heel strike. There are certain injuries that you are more at risk for with each type of footstrike, and you should consult with a physical therapist to see if altering your foot strike will decrease injury for you. Everyone is different!

  • Gait analysis: Along those same lines, get a gait analysis done by a physical therapist.

  • We are ALL different: Look at the elite pack running during the next marathon that you spectate. You will notice that they are all running tall, running with relaxed arms, and are landing under their center of mass. HOWEVER, you will notice slight differences in exactly how their feet strike the ground and their exact arm movements. The same goes for recreational runners! There are things you can do to improve, but there will always be natural differences from one runner to the next.

  • Pick one thing to improve on at a time! If you try to fix your arms, cadence AND slouching at the same time, you might feel like throwing in the towel altogether!

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