Proper running form should start from your head and finish at your toes. The goal of good form is to minimize the energy you expend and lessen the chance for injury. Although there is no one single “perfect” running gait, use the following as guidelines for proper running form:
Head: Keep your head slightly tilted down, looking at the ground in front of you, 10 to 15 feet ahead. Your facial muscles, jaw and neck should be relaxed. Enjoy your run!
Shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed and do not allow them to “slouch” forward. Hunching over will restrict the breathing passage, allowing less oxygen to get to your working muscles.
Arms: Arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle and relaxed. As you run, swing your arms forward, try not to swing them across your chest. Brush your hands past your waistband on the downswing, bringing them back behind your body. The arm movement should move in conjunction with your legs. Run with your legs, and let your arms go along for the ride!
Hands: Your thumbs and index finger should gently touch with your hand cupped, as though you are holding a potato chip that you don’t want to break. Clenching your hands is taking excessive energy away from your legs and undue stress to your upper body. Again, don’t let your hands cross over the middle of your chest- remember arms move forward for forward motion.
Torso: You want to keep your torso erect as if you are a puppet hanging on a string from above. This will allow your chest cavity to be open, which will allow easier breathing.
Hips: The hips should be facing forward, with no rotation. Your foot should strike with a heel to toe motion, directly under your hips.
Feet: Try to keep your feet low to the ground and touch the surface as light as possible. The lighter your feet touch the less pounding your body will incur (especially your joints.) Visualize yourself as if you are “running on eggshells”- this will help you stay light on your feet.
Try to change only one thing at a time and only for a brief period. To make your new effort a habit, practice will make perfect.