Good running form helps you train and perform at your best and prevents injuries. By contrast, a poor running action can sabotage your success and enjoyment as a runner. Particularly in marathon campaigns, where you’re likely to take over a million steps! So, in this blog post we’ll look at 7 common running technique errors to avoid for a highly effective running form.
Benefits of Good Running Form
Here’s a few reasons you’ll want to develop a good running technique;
- Better running economy – it feels easier with less wasted effort
- Lower impact on joints and tendons and better neuromuscular coordination to significantly reduce your risk of injuries
- Improved running mechanics allowing you to run faster, for longer
- Greater resilience in the later stages of races compared to runners with a poor action
Remember the key word is ‘good’. Your running action doesn’t need to be poetry in motion.
Unfortunately, many runners look more like poultry in motion!
Running Form Fixes
You don’t want to waste valuable training time getting better at running badly! So, here are 7 common running technique errors to avoid for highly effective running, to help you develop good running form and maintain it.
Running Technique Mistake 1: Looking Down
Aim to look 30-40m ahead, keep your chin in and think of yourself running tall. To help, imagine a helium balloon tied to the top of your head, pulling you upwards.
Running Technique Mistake 2: Hunched or Tense Shoulders
Shake your shoulders loose before running and then keep them square, rolled back, level and relaxed.
Running Technique Mistake 3: Wasteful Arm Action
Emphasise a straight backswing until your hand lightly brushes your waist, then allow the arm to swing forward in a slight inwards arc, bringing your hand up to chest height. Many runners find the mantra ‘pockets to sockets’ to be a useful cue – reminding them to drive their arms from in line with their trouser pockets, to in line with their shoulder sockets.
Running Technique Mistake 4: Leaning Forward From Waist
Instead, lean your whole body very slightly forwards from your ankles, move your chest up and out and gently pull your lower belly in.
Running Technique Mistake 5: Sitting On Your Hips
Press your hips forward and keep your bottom in as you drive your leg forward.
Running Technique Mistake 6: Overstriding
Focus on light, fast strides without overreaching. Working to gradually increase your cadence (the number of steps you take per minute) can also help to reduce overstriding.
Running Technique Mistake 7: Stiff Action
Try to remember to conduct a regular mental body scan for tension, straining and clenching, and think soft face, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
Running Form Drills
We realise that this is all too much to take in and work on at once! So we encourage you to work on correcting one bad running habit at a time, to improve your running technique progressively. And turn these actions into habits by building running form drills into your weekly schedule. You’ll quickly find your running form picks up in more ways than one!
Running Technique Coaching
Our running analysis service was designed to provide ‘normal’ runners just like you with a one-stop assessment of their running form, from head-to-toe, conducted by a qualified and experienced Running Coach. Now one of our most popular services, this 90-minute tune-up session and personalised written report has helped thousands of runners lay the foundations and build towards better running technique.
You take too many strides in training and racing to be getting every one of them badly wrong!
You can get an instant performance boost by making a few simple changes to your running action
Good running technique is the aim… Don’t get hung up striving for perfect running form!
Fix the biggest flaws in your running technique one at a time
Add just a few minutes to your warm up to practice good running form
Think soft face, neck, shoulders, arms and hands as you run!