Proper Running Form for Beginners: 7 Tips to Run Better

proper running form

Proper running form is something that is so important for runners.

When you’re first getting started or coming back to running after a long break, it can be hard to figure out if you’re doing it right.

Many people simply put on their running shoes and just head out the door.

They don’t pay much attention to whether their running form is actually good.

Having the right running form can be the difference between successfully achieving your running goals or being derailed by injuries.

There are many factors that go into having a good running form: shoulders and arms, looking forward, posture, hands, arm swing, cadence, and foot strike.

Itโ€™s common for new runners to be a bit unsure of how to have the right running form.

I put together this list of tips to help you feel confident in your running form.

My 7 Tips for Proper Running Form

Shoulders & Arms

As you run, relax your shoulders and arms.

Do not tighten, clench or slump your shoulders.

Focus on relaxing them and sure they feel loose.

Make sure that your shoulders are square and facing straight ahead.

Look Forward

Look straight ahead as you run.

Keep your head forward and try to avoid looking down.

Try to avoid staring down at your feet.

You should try to focus on looking 10-20 feet ahead so that you see what’s coming as you run.

Also, try to avoid rotating your body as you run.

Face forward in the direction you are running.

Posture

Maintain good posture as you run.

Stand straight up and engage your core.

Lean slightly forward as you run.

As you run, pay attention to your posture so that you don’t begin to slouch or let your posture get sloppy when you get tired.

Hands

Do not clench your fists.

Keep your hands loose.

It should feel like youโ€™re loosely holding an egg with each hand.

Arm Swing

Use a relaxed arm swing and maintain a 90-degree angle bend at your elbows.

Some newer runners seem to fall into the trap of raising your arms up close to your chest.

Keeping them lowered at a 90-degree angle is much more efficient for your body.

Do not cross your arms in front of you.

Imagine that there is a divider going down your center.

Your hands should not cross that line to the other side of your body.

Cadence

Take short and light steps.

Many runners make the mistake of taking huge strides because they think it will make them faster.

This is actually not true, and having an elongated stride can increase your risk of injury.

Aim for a cadence of 180 steps per minute.

Sometimes it helps to listen to a song that has a beat equivalent to 180 steps per minute so that you can match the tempo.

Foot Strike

Try to land on your mid-foot and avoid having your heel hit the ground first (heel- striking).

Heel striking can put extra stress on your knees and can cause shin splints.

When To Seek Professional Help

Have you tried to implement all of these tips but you’re still struggling with some sort of pain that might be related to your running form?

If so, I suggest setting up an appointment with your doctor or Physical Therapist to do a thorough evaluation.

They will be able to assess whether your pain is related to your form, and injury, or something else.

They can also recommend treatment to help you with the issue.

You May Also Be Interested In:

How to Make Running Easier

Overcome Running Motivation Roadblocks

How To Determine How Often You Should Run

3 Comments

  1. Great tips! Correcting my posture and cadence made such a big difference!

  2. I’ve always felt self-conscious about the way I run, I keep thinking to myself that I look stupid or I’m going to hurt myself and so I avoided running! I will try your tips! Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think your post inspires me to start running. Thanks for sharing these tips.

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