Your run form can make or break your race. If you are duathlete or a triathlete - you also have to contend with coming off the bike and making sure you have enough left in the tank to finish the race strong.
Focusing on the trail runners and multisport athletes whose race format includes a run - we know you are constantly checking in with your mind and body to see if you can withstand the terrain and conditions to get to the finish line.
How you tackle your run training and how your start your run makes the biggest difference in how you finish the day.
You can be a better & faster endurance runner just by working on your run form. You have the capability to run faster & reduce injuries quickly just by tweaking your run form for optimization.
How does the old adage go: Work smarter not harder.
Read up on our run form tips on how to keep good form & maximize energy for the long haul.
10 Running Form Techniques
& Tips to Run Better & Faster
Don't stare at your feet. Your eyes should be focused on the ground about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. Not only is this proper running form, but it's also a safer way to run because you can see what's coming and avoid falling.
Lean at Ankles
Probably everyone has heard of forward lean to help you move forward, but some attain this by bending at the hips and cutting off key posture requirements. Lean at ankles, not hips.
Fall Forward on Run
The forward lean helps this. It’s akin to feeling like you are running downhill. You want your feet to HAVE to come forward under you to catch you from falling on your face.
Core & Waist Positioning
You want your waist staying open – not bending at hips – but you want your center of gravity over where your feet will land.
Think of your hips as a bowl and you don’t want to have that bowl tip over in any direction and spill your fruit. So if you are leaning forward, the bowl stays up.
Center of Gravity
Center of gravity out front, force feet land under body. The bowl stays up, lean at ankles and your center of mass of your torso should be slightly forward making your feet want to keep moving forward to stop you from falling over. Momentum FORWARD!
Good arm swing, but not crazy. You want that arm swing to aid you in your recovery swing, but not so crazy and wide you waste energy by flailing arms. Tight to the body, elbows out, but have a nice swing down and up to chest high.
Opposite arms to legs for the best momentum & balanced rotation.
Push off with rear leg. Don’t just drag it through on the recovery swing. Really PUSH off with that back leg pushing you forward. Make the glutes do some work and relieve the quads.
Pull knee hip height when swinging forward. Don’t get lazy about the front leg reach. If you have a wimpy lift, you will not get the full reach and capacity out of each stride.
If you have to keep running, you want the full results of each stride. Pull that knee up at least hip high parallel to the ground for the upper leg to get a fluid forceful stride.
Relax Your Shoulders
Your shoulders should be relaxed, not hunched over or up by your ears. Rounding the shoulders too far forward will tighten the airways in your chest and restrict your ability to breathe well. You'll breathe a lot easier if your shoulders are relaxed. Running with relaxed shoulders will release stress, tension and make your rotations smoother.
Notice if you bounce when you run? In this up/down flouncy motion, (called vertical oscillation in your garmin fitness watch) your head and body are moving up/down too much, which directly correlates with wasting a lot of energy that is not working to make you move forward.
The higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater the shock you have to absorb when landing and the faster your legs will fatigue.
Getting Your Run Form Analyzed
Most of our running buddies don't thinking about their run form unless something starts to hurt. And even then, it’s more about figuring what exactly hurts and fixing specific weak, releasing tight muscles, or evening out muscular imbalances.
Changing your running form or gait will not happen one day by just waking up and forcing yourself to run differently.
You when is the other time our running crew talk about "run form"
Yup - you guests it - when they want to get faster or improve in their race results ranking.
If you're really trying to PR in a race— experts recommend making small tweaks to optimize your running form.
You will see better performance results improve simply by adjusting only one of portion of your form/technique.
A simple small change list keeping your shoulders relaxed can improve your running times without requiring you to get fitter. As an endurance runner - you know what that really means?
You don’t have to run more, train harder, or buy any special equipment or shoes - you just need to be more efficient at what you’re doing and you’ll get better & faster immediately.
So if your are a half-marathoner, marathoner, ultrarunner, duathlete or triathlete - we recommend your very next run - pick ONE thing about your form that can be improved and focus on that - and that only. You are welcome - you just got faster who no more effort or red bull required! #happyrunning.