How to Improve Your Running Posture
Proper posture and form is important in any day-to-day activity, and super important in running. Whether you're a seasoned runner or just beginning, keep these suggestions in mind for the best form and posture. These are some key areas to pay attention to while running.
Head and neck
Your head should be in a neutral position with your eyes fixed on the horizon. Keeping your head up, as opposed to looking down, improves your oxygen intake and efficiency while running. It also keeps your body in proper form and determines your overall posture.
Your shoulders should be low and loose to allow the best range of motion for your arms. This also reduces the risk of injury at the shoulder joint, which can be more common in runners and athletes than you think. The shoulders play a key role in keeping the rest of your body relaxed.
Arms and hands
Keep your arms between your waist and your chest with elbows slightly bent to 90 degrees, at the most. Keep your wrists loose and your hands unclenched as this will this will help reduce the tension in your shoulders, chest and back. If you're an arm swinger, make sure you're swinging your arms back and forth as opposed to across your body. Use this arm movement to drive your legs forwards and backwards. The movement of your arms helps to coordinate the movement and efficiency of your legs.
Chest and back
Remember how we told you to keep your head up and your eyes fixed on the horizon? This will automatically keep your chest in the best position for optimal breathing. Don't lean. Leaning too far forwards or backwards puts excess stress on your back, knees and achilles tendons.
Hips and feet
Shakira was right: hips don't lie. They are your center of gravity. Your feet and your hips play an important role in your running and they work together to align your form. Your feet should be hitting the ground directly under your hips. Longer strides do nothing for your body, your time or the efficiency of your run.
When your feet hit the ground ahead of your hips, you're hitting the ground with a straight leg and this creates a 'shock' that travels up through your body. Strike the ground directly beneath your hips and then allow your foot to sweep the ground with your knee bending slightly upon impact.
The best way to strike the ground is with the middle of your foot. Land softly with your knee slightly bent. You should hit the ground on the outside edge of your shoe and then roll slowly inward to the ball of your foot. Hitting the ground this way helps to distribute your weight evenly. Wearing the right shoes for your foot type will guide your foot to do this naturally, as well as adding in custom orthotics or Correct Toes.
With these tips for improving running posture, you should be pounding the pavement perfectly in no time!