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Proper Running Form

Spring is here and races are popping up like wildflowers. Many runners have been training for the Pittsburgh half marathon or the full marathon. Some runners might already be tapering for an earlier race, but chances are, many have been out there in the last few months getting mileage in with their feet.

One forgotten aspect of running — during training or the actual race — is proper running form. Runners tend to focus on other things like nutrition, weather, outfit comfort, or even playlists. However, it is important for runners to remember proper form.

The running form tips below are broken down by limb movement:

Proper arm movement

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and not up by your ears. Having your shoulders up high and tight can constrict your chest and make it more difficult to breathe. Remember to relax your shoulders and breathe with your diaphragm.
  • Elbows should be at a 90-degree angle or less. This will ensure your hand height will be around your hips or higher when you are swinging back.
  • Do not let your arms cross over in front of your body during the front swing. This will limit side-to-side rotation so you can focus more energy on the actual running motion.
  • Keep a relaxed grip with your fists. This will also help your body use less energy on your hands and more on the running motion.


Proper stride and foot strike

  • Focus on maintaining short, quick strides. This will prevent you from overextending your forward leg in front of you and put less strain on your knees and your hamstrings. Having an overextended leg can also slow you down instead of helping you move forward.
  • Make sure your foot lands underneath your knee so it properly supports your body and helps with your forward motion.

Use these helpful reminders while you are training for runs and races this year. Good luck on a very successful year of running and being healthy!