How to run properly is an important question, but is there such a thing as perfect running technique. The answer to this is both yes and no, not one fit for everyone, because different runners have different body shapes and varying lengths of limbs and many other factors which make one ideal running technique very unrealistic.
Ideally you should work on each aspect of ‘perfect running technique’ in isolation, until you’ve mastered it and then attempt to improve another area. What’s really important however is to ensure that you learn how to run properlyand can run comfortably without risking injury by forcing your body to adopt any new style of running too quickly.
It’s easy to avoid this by only adopting one part of ‘perfect running technique’ at a time and limiting the amounts of time that you use it for in one go. For example trying to correct bad knee alignment for a full hour would be very difficult to do, you’d lose concentration and possibly cause yourself an injury.
Ideally 10 – 15 minutes is enough time to concentrate on correcting poor form, without reverting back to your old habits or suffering an injury. Training outside is fine for this, but if you have access to a treadmill or even better a treadmill and mirror, you will learn how to run properly far quicker progress and be able to monitor your technique much easier.
So with that said, here are all the aspects of perfect running technique that you need to focus on, working from your head down:-
Keep your head up straight and looking forwards without jutting out your chin. Try to avoid looking down at the ground in front of you, instead focus on what’s ahead. Minimise any movement of your head when running, but don’t strain or tense your neck muscles in order to do this.
For perfect running technique, your shoulders need to be relaxed and loose as opposed to high and tight. Try to keep them level as you run. If you feel any tension building, try to shake off your arms, down by your side to loosen and relax the muscles.
- Hold your hands in a relaxed manner, don’t clench a fist, because this holds too much tension in the forearms. Try to swing your arms straight forwards and back, not across your body because this makes your style less efficient (you’ll use more energy to get the same results) and slows you down as well as working your core muscles much harder.
- For your arms, try to keep a bend of approximately 90 degrees at the elbows.
Try to run tall and keep your tummy muscles pulled in and contracted in order to minimise any lateral movement of your torso. Aim to maintain an upright position with a slight lean forwards, throughout your run.
The type of running you do will dictate your stride style. If you are running very short distances such as sprints for example, you’ll need to lift up your knees much higher. For longer distances however, you’ll want to adopt a more efficient technique. Perfect running technique for longer running distances requires a much shorter stride, with a relatively low knee lift.
When running properly, your feet should land directly underneath your body, not in front or behind you and as your feet land the knees should be slightly bent to absorb shock and protect the joints.
Perhaps the most important aspect learning how to run properly and of perfect running technique to get right concerns your feet and the action of your feet.
In order to run well, you need to be efficient. The most effective way of achieving this is to hit the ground lightly, using a springy and quiet step. The best place to land is on the mid foot, rolling quickly on to the ball of the foot and then pushing off from there.
Keeping your ankles flexed will help you to push off the ground with more power.
A good way to check your foot position is to listen. If your feet slap down loudly, then you’re not placing your feet down properly with each step and probably lifting your knees too high.
In a nutshell this is how to run properly. If you manage to put all of the above factors in to place, then you can say that you have the ‘perfect’ running technique.
To find out more about how to run properly and how to start running so you enjoy it and make rapid progress without getting bored or disheartened, go to Running for Beginners.