Perfect Your Running Form

When we think of running, we think of one foot in front of the other.  But, if our running form is incorrect we may end up with aches, strains and injuries.  Below are some of the most common running-form mistakes to avoid next time you hit the treadmill, trail, or pavement provided by Prevention Magazine.

1.  Head tilting your chin toward you chest, or leaning your head back may be relaxing on your neck at times.  But, to prevent neck strain Prevention Magazine encourages an open throat for easy breathing by keeping your head stacked over your spine.  Correct head position also encourages a straight, upright stance, which makes you a more efficient runner.

2. Shoulders make sure you are not tensing your upper back and shoulders while running.  Every so often take nice deep breaths and relax your torso and actively roll your shoulders back and down toward your pelvis.  Do a self-check to make sure your shoulders are stacked over the hips.  Hunching the upper body forward not only makes it difficult to breathe, it also puts pressure on your lower back.

3. Arms leave the side-to-side swaying arms for the dance floor.  Your arms shouldn’t move across your body when you run: it uses up energy, tires your muscles, and actually prevents your body from propelling forward.  To increase your speed and endurance, focus on swaying your arms forward and back, keeping your elbows at 90-degree angles.

4. Hands: Clenched fists translate to tense arms and shoulders, which tires your muscles and can cause a dull, achy sensation.  Not to mention, it also makes you look like an angry runner!  Maintain a sense of relaxation in your torso by running with a slightly open fist, pretending you’re holding an egg in each palm.

5. Belly: Many runners complain of lower back pain, and one reason is because they don’t engage their abs.  While running, concentrate on drawing your navel in toward your spine to keep your pelvis and lower spine stable.

6. Feet: Where your feet strike is a big debate among runners.  In order to land with the least amount of jarring pressure on your ankles and knees and have the ability to push off the ground with great force, it’s best to land on the midfoot — not on the heel.  Then roll forward quickly onto the toes, popping off the ground with each step.  Landing softly is key — no one should hear you pounding your feet as you run.

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