Running Form

As with all exercise, form in running is essential in creating a safe workout and ensuring your body has beneficial results with no extra strain from improper methods. Well, probably the most important part of a proper running form is to look where you are going. You wouldn”t want that cute young neighbor to see you run into a telephone pole or a parked car would you? Keep your eyes focused about twenty feet or so ahead of you and make sure to keep a lookout for moving objects like bicyclists and cars.

Make sure your feet are straight; running with your toes pointed in or out could damage your feet or legs. Your arms should be bent at a 90o angle at the elbow with the arms and hands relaxed. Your hands should be held about waist level.

Some runners will run with their hands at chest level, especially beginners, and this will lead to early fatigue as it will cause tension in the shoulders and chest which burns energy unnecessarily by tensing the muscles. The arms should slightly swing, freely at the shoulders front to back, but not forcefully as this will unnecessarily burn energy. Avoid swinging the arms side to side across the chest as this may cause you to slump forward.

You should run as you walk, with good posture. Keeping the head straight up and looking forward, the back straight and erect, and the shoulders level. Make sure you keep your shoulders under your ears rather than forward as if you slump the shoulders forward this will cause the body to slump forward and will lead to fatigue.

Often toward the end of a run, runners will become tired and slump forward and this extrapolates the fatigue as the slumped posture will compress the chest cavity and prevent the lungs from filling completely thus cutting off vital oxygen supply. So stand up straight!

Take short, low strides. The higher you go, the farther you have to come back down, this puts unnecessary shock on your legs and body and causes more air time. The time your feet are in the air between ground strikes is referred to as stride turnover.  Excessive vertical motion causes a longer stride turnover and also wastes energy, and wasted energy will lead to early fatigue.

Breathing is also an important factor in running technique. Some people think that you should breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This is actually incorrect. Ideally you should allow air in through your nose and mouth at the same time. This will maximize air intake and thus oxygen intake oxygen is vital for muscle and organ function.

Lack of oxygen during strenuous workout such as running will lead to a lowered oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, which in turn leads to lower oxygen levels available for the muscles, which in turn leads to lowered ATP production, which in turn leads to elevated lactic acid levels in the muscles, which in turn leads to muscle cramps and soreness. Proper breathing technique is very important during running, as well as any strenuous exercise.

Utilizing all of these techniques outlined here should help you run more efficiently and therefore have a better, more productive run. Proper body movement combined with proper breathing technique will allow you to run farther easier. Next time you go for a run try to pay attention to all of these things and make sure you are following the proper techniques and you will not only improve your running, but you will have a more enjoyable run.


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