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3 Tips to Help Improve Your Running Form

Posted by: Angie Menendez, Fitness Coordinator on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Improving your running form has the potential to help you increase your running efficiency, avoid injury and run longer distances more comfortably. If you are looking for ways to become faster and do so injury free, have a friend take a video of you running. The video should be from the side, from the back and in an ideal situation should be done when you are not aware of the recording. This will help you see your true running form and assess if there are areas that need to be improved. These tips came from Altra Running Shoe founder Golden Harper who coaches runners across the US. He is passionate about helping his runners become the most efficient and comfortable while tackling distances long and short.

  1. Run a little quieter. When you focus your energy on running quieter, you start to pick up your knees slightly and decrease the force of your step. Golden notes that you should run a little quieter, and that is an important distinction. Your knees should bend slightly as you land to help take some of the joint pressure off. It shouldn’t be a massive effort, but a gentle lightening in the step will help improve your turnover and decrease the force to the joints with each step.
  2. Run tall and proud with your elbows tight into your body. Your running posture will determine where your feet land and where the impact is felt. When you assume a proud tall running posture, you are helping to align your body to protect the joints. You want to keep your elbows back (think chicken wings) and not let the elbows go past the hips when they swing while running. This improves your efficiency and protects your back and shoulders which can get tight from hunched over running style.
  3. Count your steps. Many runners take too few steps per minute. While it sounds counterintuitive, turning your steps over quickly is more efficient than over striding which leads to heel striking, which can in turn hurt your knees, hips and glutes. Keep your steps short and if you are running an 11 minute mile you should be at around 165 steps per minute. If you run faster than an 8:30 minute mile your pace should quicken to around 180 steps per minute. If you feel like you are plodding and running sluggish, try to pick up your feet and turn them over quicker. It will move you forward faster with less energy.

By Angie Menendez
Angie is an NASM certified Personal Trainer and an AFAA certified Group Fitness Instructor. She holds additional certifications from the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Schwinn, TRX and is also an NASM certified Women's Fitness Specialist. She is passionate about women's health, running, and nutrition. She lives in Aliso Viejo, California with her husband JP and son Gavin. She loves to read and exercise in her spare time.

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