How to Run Correctly: Proper Form and Technique

February 22, 2018
  • Sydney Kaiser
    Product Reviewer, Content Writer, Certified Personal Trainer

*TreadmillReviewGuru helps consumers find the best home fitness products. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.

Running is an important exercise if you want to lose weight and get fit. Some people may think that running is easy and all you need to do is just slip on some shoes and start moving. However, this exercise has its own techniques.

By implementing the proper running form and running techniques, you can greatly improve your running and protect yourself from common running injuries. To help you achieve the proper form and running technique, Treadmill Guru has developed some useful tips for having an efficient running.

How to Run Correctly

  • Warm-Up

Before starting to run, you need to warm up your muscles. Do some dynamic stretching that gets your body up and moving, rather than static, still stretching. Then, start walking for 5 minutes to get your muscles and joints ready for when you speed up and start running.

Just remember, you should never start running immediately; otherwise, you can painfully shock your body and make the first part of your run very uncomfortable.

  • Don’t Look Down

When you start running, you will feel a tendency to lower your sight and see what’s happening with your feet. However, this is not a good position for you posturally, as it strains your neck and upper back.

Bending the neck will not only affect your posture, but it will also impede your airway as you run, making it tough to breathe. So, keep your head straight as you keep on running.

  • Avoid Creeping Up Your Shoulders

Another mistake that people make is hunching their shoulders as they run. Don’t try to keep them high and tight. Instead, keep them low and loose.

You should periodically check and actively drop your shoulders and shake out your arms to fend off tight muscles. It is important to follow this technique as it aims to allow more oxygen to go through your muscles and help you avoid painful cramping.

  • Breathe Rhythmically

Running and breathing should be performed rhythmically. Research has shown that the best way to breathe while running is to take two steps, inhale and then two steps and exhale. Also, it is not true that the faster you breathe, the better you will feel. Instead, breathe deeply and keep the breaths even to help prevent side stitches.

Sticking to this method of breathing will improve your airflow through your body and can help make you feel less tired in the end. Also, be sure to breathe through your mouth, as your nose is unlikely to be able to take in enough air as you run.

  • Swing Your Arms

Keep your arms no higher than a 90-degree angle and swing them along your sides as much as possible. It is best that your arms don’t cross the center of your chest. If your arms cross the center of your chest often, you can restrict the amount of air you can get into your lungs.

When running for a long distance, keep your arms at a 110-degree angle, keeping them as loose as possible to avoid bunching your muscles up. Also, as you move your arms, be sure your hands are cupped open, not in fists.

  • Strike Directly Below Body

The natural instinct as you run is to stride out, but overstriding can lead to instability in your joints and strain on the muscles and tendons in your legs. Instead, you should focus on ensuring that as your foot strikes the ground or the treadmill deck directly below your body.

You may need to shorten your stride and up your running cadence to maintain your pace while striking below your body. As you practice, it will become more natural. Also, if your body has been feeling the effects of overstriding, you may want to pick up a good treadmill to cushion your joints as you re-learn to move properly.

  • Keep Your Hips Stable & Forward

Hips are considered to be your center of gravity, and they are affected by your torso posture. Your hips should be stable and forward-facing, not tilted toward the ground.

  • Proper Footstrike

Run with light steps. Touch the ground with the middle of your foot rather than with your forefoot or heel. Striking properly can help prevent future pain and common runner injuries.

Also, as important as how you put your foot on the ground is even how you put it off. When taking off the last part of your foot that touches the ground should be a near forefoot zone.

  • Cool Down

After you complete your run, start walking so that your breath and your pulse go back to normal rather than just stopping. Then, when your breathing calms down, start doing some static stretches.

It is essential to stretch at the end of a run as your muscles have the tendency to stiffen. You don’t need to spend large amounts of time, but 5-10 minutes can significantly improve your recovery.

  • Don’t Quit!

For many people just starting to run, sticking with a running schedule may seem incredibly difficult in the beginning. But by sticking with it and taking your runs slowly, you can build up the strength and endurance to make running a lifelong habit.

Always start with an easy level of running and build up from there. Even great runners had to start slow, and by keeping your runs slow and short for the first few weeks, you can ease your body past the initial aches and pains. That way, you can develop the stronger muscles you need to run faster and farther in the future.

Combine running with a balanced diet so that over time, you will gradually see that you are able to reach your desired results.

Other Necessary Tips for Running!

Along with implementing the above tips into your running, there are other aspects of running that can help you improve your overall experience.

  • Choose the Right Running Shoes

The right running shoes can make a world of difference. So, it is that you keep in mind that your running shoes should offer you comfort while running and not have any tight or cramped areas. The best ones for you are not the ones which only provide these features, but they should also fit your foot’s shape and the environment in which you are running, from road running to rough trail running shoes.

If you aren’t positive what kind of running shoe would suit you best, you can always visit a specialty running store and get fitted by the running enthusiasts there.

  • Run On a Treadmill

Are you one of those people who feel the pressure of time and struggle to find the time to get out and go on a run? Then, bring the track in your home or your office.

If you are also willing to work on your computer or go through some files, then choose a treadmill desk. If you prefer not to mix fitness and work, be sure to check out our best treadmills list to help you find the right treadmill for your home gym. Except for the fresh air, running on a treadmill will lead to the same results as doing this activity outside. Also, high-quality treadmills can provide a number of excellent fitness options that can help in improving your overall fitness.

Improving You Running Form Allows You To Enjoy Running

To sum-up these running techniques, when you decide to go running, you should know that every part of your body plays its own role. And if one of part of your body is not in the right posture, this part will affect another one.

Starting from your warm-up to the shoes you wear, you should pay attention to every detail in order to do a perfect running. And the most important part is to enjoy what you do. As Julie Isphording—former Olympic runner—has said, “Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.”