Proper Running Form

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I see a lot of runners in my practice as a physical therapist. I will be honest they are probably my favorite population to work with, probably because I’m a kindred spirit! Anyhow, something I stress a lot is proper running form for all of my clients. Not only will proper running form keep you injury free, it will also make you a faster and stronger runner. 


Your running mechanics are determined by the strength and flexibility of certain muscles and how your body is built.

Any imbalance in one of these areas can throw off your form and increase your risk for injury. 

Proper Running form can keep you injury free and make you a stronger, faster runner!

Cues for Proper Running Form


Look ahead with your eyes and head up. Looking down results in leaning forward, which will increase the load on your lower back. Keeping your eyes up not only improves your posture and ability to breath, it also keeps you tuned into your surroundings


You were built to run, let your body take the lead and stop thinking so much about it.


Drop and relax your shoulders. Tense shoulders waste energy and won’t help you go faster. 


Keep it relaxed and your mouth open. Clenching your jaw can lead to tension in the neck that will then lead to tension headaches. Keeping your mouth open will also enable you to breath through your mouth and nose both helping with improved oxygen delivery. 


Don’t bend at the waist. Keep your head and body held high and proud. If you slouch you can’t breath as easily since your chest isn’t open. Poor posture can also restrict blood flow  to your muscles. A tall, upright posture will ensure your hip flexors and abductors are also functioning in their most optimal position. 


Lightly cup your hands instead of making fists. This will reduce energy spent and help you relax more into the run. 

More Running Mechanics for Improved Form

  • Maintain short, quick stride. Avoid reaching forward with your foot to try and lengthen your stride. 
  • Push up and off. Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you
  • Keep your knee in line. You want your foot to strike under your knee not in front of it. 
  • Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less.
  • Core Strength. Focus on your glutes (yes your butt is part of your core) and abdominal muscles. 
  • Wear good shoes. Coming soon 🙂


What are your concerns with injury prevention techniques?!


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