Run Smarter, Not Harder: Tips for Maintaining Proper Form When Running

Running with incorrect form can lead to pesky injuries and hamper your performance. Studies show that proper running technique boosts speed and endurance while minimizing strain on the body.

This article will provide practical tips, discuss the importance of correct form when running, and share techniques you can use to improve your own running posture. Keep reading, you’ll soon be racing like a pro!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper running form is important for preventing injuries, improving efficiency and endurance, and maximizing performance.
  • Tips for maintaining proper running form include looking ahead, keeping your hands at your waist, relaxing your hands and shoulders, checking your posture, avoiding bouncing, and keeping your arms at your sides.
  • Increasing running cadence, maintaining a relaxed and effortless form, focusing on proper arm swing and posture, and ensuring correct foot strike are techniques that can help improve running form.
  • If you experience persistent pain or injury while running or want to improve performance further seek professional help from a doctor or physical therapist.
proper form when running
proper form when running

Tips for Proper Running Form

Look ahead while running to maintain proper form and prevent your gaze from falling down.

Look ahead

Always keep your eyes forward when you run. Look about 20 feet ahead of you. This helps keep your neck and spine in line. Don’t look down at your feet. Doing so might hurt your neck or make you lose balance.

By looking ahead, you can also see where you’re going. You won’t trip over things on the ground if they show up in front of you out of nowhere.

Keep your hands at your waist

To maintain proper running form, it’s important to keep your hands at your waist. This position helps with stability and balance while running. By keeping your hands relaxed and close to your body, you can minimize unnecessary movements that can slow you down or throw off your stride.

It also prevents excessive swinging of the arms, which can waste energy. Keeping your hands at your waist allows for a more efficient transfer of power from the upper body to the lower body, helping you run with greater ease and efficiency.

In addition, keeping your hands at your waist encourages good posture by preventing slouching or hunching over while running. It promotes proper alignment of the spine and encourages engagement of core muscles, which are essential for maintaining stability and reducing strain on other parts of the body.

So remember, when you’re out for a run, focus on keeping your hands at your waist. Find a comfortable position where they hang naturally by the sides of your body without crossing in front or swinging too far back.

Relax your hands

To maintain proper running form, it’s important to relax your hands. By keeping your hands and fingers loose, you can prevent unnecessary tension in your upper body. This allows for efficient movement and helps conserve energy while running.

Remember, relaxed hands also contribute to overall relaxation in the rest of your body, promoting a more effortless and enjoyable running experience.

Check your posture

Proper posture is crucial for maintaining good form while running. When you run, make sure to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back. This helps align your spine and prevent unnecessary strain on your body.

Keeping a straight posture also allows for better breathing and maximizes the efficiency of your movements. To check if you have the right posture, imagine a string pulling you up from the crown of your head, keeping you tall and upright.

By maintaining proper posture while running, you can improve your performance, reduce the risk of injury, and make running feel easier overall.

Relax your shoulders

To maintain proper running form, it’s important to relax your shoulders. When you run with tense shoulders, it can lead to unnecessary strain and even injury. By consciously relaxing your shoulders and letting them drop down away from your ears, you can help improve your overall posture and prevent tension buildup in the upper body.

In addition, relaxed shoulders promote a more efficient arm swing and allow for smoother movement throughout your run. So remember to keep those shoulders relaxed for a more comfortable and effective running experience.

Proper Running Form
Photo By Malik Skydsgaard

Keep your arms at your sides

Keeping your arms at your sides is an important aspect of proper running form. By doing so, you can maintain a balanced and efficient stride. When your arms swing naturally at your sides, it helps to counterbalance the movement of your legs and keep you stable while running.

This can improve your overall running efficiency and prevent unnecessary energy waste. Additionally, keeping your arms relaxed and not crossing them in front of your body allows for better blood flow and oxygen circulation, which can help improve endurance during longer runs.

So remember to let your arms swing freely by keeping them at your sides when running.

Avoid bouncing

Bouncing while running is not ideal for proper running form. Bouncing wastes energy and can lead to inefficient movement. Instead, focus on maintaining a smooth and steady stride. Keep your gaze forward, relax your shoulders, and let your arms swing naturally at your sides.

By avoiding bouncing and maintaining a controlled motion, you can improve your running efficiency, conserve energy, and reduce the risk of injury.

The Importance of Proper Running Form

Proper running form is crucial for preventing injury, improving efficiency and endurance, and maximizing performance. Read on to discover the techniques that can help you achieve better running form.

Preventing injury

Proper running form is essential for preventing injuries. When you maintain good posture, keep your gaze forward, and relax your shoulders, you reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other common running-related injuries.

By avoiding excessive bouncing and maintaining a relaxed arm swing, you also minimize the impact on your joints. Additionally, having adequate core strength helps stabilize your body while running and reduces the likelihood of injury.

So remember to focus on maintaining proper form to stay safe during your runs.

Improving efficiency and endurance

Proper running form is not only important for preventing injuries, but it can also improve efficiency and endurance. When you have good form, your body moves in a more efficient way, allowing you to conserve energy and maintain a steady pace for longer distances.

By maintaining a relaxed and effortless form while running, you can maximize your performance and reach your goals faster. Additionally, having proper arm swing, posture, and foot strike can contribute to improved efficiency and endurance.

So remember to focus on maintaining good form during your runs to optimize your running experience.

Maximizing performance

Proper running form is essential for maximizing performance. When you maintain good posture and relax your body, it allows for efficient movement and energy conservation. By looking ahead, keeping your hands at your waist, and focusing on a relaxed arm swing, you can improve your speed and endurance.

Additionally, having a strong core helps stabilize your body while running, enabling you to maintain optimal form throughout your workout. With the right technique and posture, you’ll be able to push yourself further and achieve better results during every run.

Techniques to Improve Running Form

Increase running cadence, maintain a relaxed and effortless form, focus on proper arm swing and posture, and ensure correct foot strike.

Increasing running cadence

Increasing your running cadence can have a positive impact on your overall running form and performance. Here are some tips to help you increase your running cadence:

  1. Take shorter, quicker strides: Aim to increase the number of steps you take per minute by taking smaller, faster steps. This can help reduce the impact on your joints and improve efficiency.
  2. Use a metronome or music with a fast tempo: Listening to music with higher beats per minute (BPM) or using a metronome that beeps at a desired cadence can help you maintain a faster rhythm while running.
  3. Focus on landing lightly and quickly: Try to land softly on the balls of your feet with each step, rather than heel striking. This encourages a quicker turnover and reduces the risk of injury.
  4. Increase gradually: Start by gradually increasing your cadence by 5-10% at a time. This allows your muscles and body to adapt to the increased speed without putting excessive strain on them.

Maintaining a relaxed and effortless form

Proper running form includes maintaining a relaxed and effortless form. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your body loose and relaxed.
  • Avoid tensing up your muscles while running.
  • Let your arms swing naturally at your sides.
  • Focus on breathing deeply and evenly.
  • Relax your shoulders and avoid hunching forward.
  • Keep your gaze ahead and not down at the ground.
  • Maintain a steady rhythm with your steps.
  • Land softly on the balls of your feet to reduce impact.
  • Engage your core muscles for stability and balance.

Proper arm swing and posture

Proper arm swing and posture are important for maintaining good running form. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Swing your arms naturally back and forth from the shoulders, making sure not to cross them in front of your body.
  2. Keep your elbows bent at about a 90-degree angle throughout your run.
  3. Avoid swinging your arms too high or letting them hang too low.
  4. Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid shrugging them up towards your ears.
  5. Maintain a straight posture with your head up and your gaze forward.
  6. Engage your core muscles to help support proper posture and balance.

Correct foot strike

A proper foot strike is important for running with good form. Here are some tips to help you achieve it:

  • Land on the midfoot or forefoot, not the heel.
  • Avoid overstriding by keeping your feet underneath your hips.
  • Aim for a soft and quiet landing, minimizing impact on your joints.
  • Increase cadence (number of steps per minute) to promote a shorter stride length and quicker foot turnover.
  • Focus on lifting and flexing your knees instead of pushing off with your toes.
  • Maintain a relaxed ankle and avoid excessive dorsiflexion or plantarflexion.

When to Seek Professional Help

Seek professional help when facing persistent pain or injury during running and improve your performance with expert guidance.

Consulting a doctor or physical therapist

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort while running, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor or physical therapist. They can assess your condition and provide guidance on how to improve your running form and prevent injuries.

A healthcare professional can also evaluate any underlying issues that might be contributing to your discomfort, such as muscle imbalances or alignment problems. They may recommend specific exercises or stretches to address these issues and help you run with better form.

Additionally, if you have a previous injury or medical condition that affects your ability to run, seeking professional advice is essential for safe and effective training. Remember, the goal is not only to enjoy running but also to do so in a way that promotes overall health and well-being.

Getting a running analysis or gait assessment

If you want to improve your running form, getting a running analysis or gait assessment can be helpful. These assessments are done by professionals who specialize in analyzing how you run and identifying any areas for improvement.

They can help you understand your stride, foot strike, and body mechanics so that you can make adjustments to your form. By addressing any issues with your running technique, you can reduce the risk of injury and become a more efficient runner.

Whether it’s consulting with a doctor or physical therapist, or working with a running coach or trainer, getting a professional analysis is one way to take your running to the next level.

proper form when running

Working with a running coach or trainer

If you want to improve your running form, working with a running coach or trainer can be really helpful. They can provide guidance and feedback on your technique, helping you make the necessary adjustments to run more efficiently and prevent injuries.

A coach or trainer can also create a personalized training plan tailored to your goals and fitness level, ensuring that you progress in a safe and effective manner. With their expertise and support, you’ll be able to optimize your running form and reach new levels of performance.


In conclusion, practicing proper form when running is crucial for a successful and injury-free experience. By looking ahead, keeping your hands at your waist, relaxing your hands and shoulders, and maintaining good posture, you can improve your speed, endurance, and overall efficiency.

Don’t forget to engage your core and work on techniques such as increasing cadence and having the correct foot strike. With consistent practice of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more efficient runner.


1. What is the proper form when running?

Proper running form means keeping your spine aligned, shoulders relaxed, tightening your core, and bending elbows while you jog or run.

2. How can running form tips improve speed and distance?

Correct running technique like lifting and flexing the knee properly helps to increase both your running speed and distance.

3. What are common mistakes in a beginner’s running form?

Beginners often lack an efficient style which may lead to poor posture, inadequate stride or inappropriate gait without proper body mechanics.

4. Can correct shoulder blade position affect my jogging form?

Yes! Shoulder blades play a key role in maintaining suitable foot strikes along with providing stability for effective running motion.

5. What is an optimal way to improve my current good mechanics of running?

To optimize your already good mechanics, tightening the core during runs will help preserve energy by providing stability leading to efficient and effective forms.

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