How can I improve my running technique? In this post we give you some tips but the basic one is easy: Relax.
The theory of how to run well is simple to understand and the tips that go with it to improve your running technique are pretty easy to put into practice.
Among the essential running tips, the technical tips are essential. Believe us, we’ve been through it.
There are 9 beginner’s tips to improve running technique: Run often. Don’t overthink foot placement but listen carefully. Keep upright, relax hands and shoulders. Look ahead and move arms and body forward, not sideways or upward.
Keep reading for the details on these 9 tips to improve your running technique.
Table of Contents
- 1 How can I improve my running technique? Introduction
- 2 Our 9 tips for beginners to improve running technique
- 3 How can I improve my running technique? Conclusion
How can I improve my running technique? Introduction
If you put a lot of focus on the technical aspect, you can see excellent results.
First, in terms of injury reduction. Knowing how to run well is very effective in avoiding injuries. If you start working on the different points in this article, you will be less likely to incur injuries.
Running better is also an extremely powerful basis for running faster.
Just because it’s easy to understand and easy to practice doesn’t mean you can learn to run well overnight.
Our body is used to the way we run and repeats it automatically.
In order to run better, we sometimes have to unlearn one way in order to record another in the brain.
This change can take time and may feel like running funny at first.
This feeling is normal and if the correction you make is good, the result will be felt sooner or later.
Our 9 tips for beginners to improve running technique
Run, run and run again
This tip for running well is simple and involves no thought.
Remember that the body is a magnificent machine. It spends its time trying to improve whatever activity is offered to it.
Thus, the simple act of running regularly tells the body that running is something important.
Therefore, it will naturally try, in an unconscious way, to do everything to be more efficient at running.
As time goes on, you will gain more experience in running, and you will run more efficiently.
Don’t overthink your foot placement
Heel, mid-foot or forefoot strike? This is a subject that invokes a lot of thought.
Yes, a very pronounced heel strike is harmful. But there is no clear evidence that with a mid-foot strike, you would be more efficient and have fewer injuries.
Instead of focusing on the foot placement itself, try to improve all the details mentioned here about posture and your foot strike will greatly improve.
Keep an upright posture
To run well, you must be straight and your body must be in a straight line.
And there’s an image I really like to describe this.
Imagine that you are a puppet, held up by a string on the top of your head. Imagine that thread is what keeps you upright and assume this posture for running.
Looking 50 yards ahead, as explained further on, you should already have your head relatively straight.
But by imagining this wire holding your head, your whole body will have to stand up straight.
The goal is to not lean too far forward, even if a slight forward tilt is positive to maintain the momentum of the movement.
And above all, you must avoid leaning back because it is like running with the handbrake on!
Ideally, you want a shoulder line that is very slightly forward of the center of gravity.
Keep the noise to a minimum
You will often hear that you should try to be light when you run. We find this description a little vague, but it is true.
We prefer to say run with as quietly as because it’s something we can apply more easily.
By running in a quiet area, you can listen to your stride and see if you are making noise every time your foot makes contact with the ground.
You can also simply try to feel it, a noisy impact on the ground results in a significant shock wave that you will feel in your leg and even in your back.
Trying to reduce this shock wave will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
This is a complicated area to improve so don’t get discouraged.
Relax your shoulders
The arms move according to your pace.
But rather than thinking about how your arms can help you run faster, focus on not letting them slow you down!
Many runners have tight, high shoulders. All these tensions are harmful, they will block the upper body and prevent it from fully accomplishing its role.
Try to keep your shoulders relaxed, low, while maintaining about a 90-degree angle at the elbow.
Relax your hands
Hands are rarely mentioned in running technique. However, running with closed/tight fists also causes problems.
Running with your hands closed will tend to tighten your shoulders and the rest of your upper body.
You don’t have to run with your hands fully open either. Keep your hands relaxed as when you are at rest.
A relaxing tip for those who clench their fists: Imagine you are holding an egg. You don’t want to drop it but you don’t want to break it either.
You will keep your hands closed, close to your usual, but will decrease the pressure you put on them and therefore relax.
Have a forward arm movement
Make sure that your hand goes forward when you move your arms, and not to the side.
It is especially important to keep your hands off the center of your body.
A little inward movement is okay, but it will really throw off your stride if your hands cross the center every time.
Look about 50 yards ahead
We naturally move towards the place where our eyes land. It is therefore important to avoid looking at your feet at all costs.
Our goal is not to go to the ground but to go forward.
In addition, looking only a few feet ahead tends to put our weight too far forward of the center of gravity and thus overuse the quadriceps.
It sends the buttocks backward and prevents the use of its powerful muscles to their full extent.
Be careful with this advice though. Obviously, we have to look at what we are doing.
Depending on the nature of the ground, especially for trail runners, you may have to look straight ahead.
But in normal conditions on a clear road or path, try to look 50 yards in front of you.
Try to bounce forward and not upward
Having a bouncy feel on the ground is important.
The elasticity of our body allows us to reuse some of the energy from the impact on the ground.
We need to focus on using as much of that energy as possible to move forward, not up.
Jumping up and down with each stride is very inefficient as you’ll use a lot of energy to go upward against gravity as opposed to moving forward so you can make progress on your route.
If you’re plus-size like I am, you would perform even more work and waste energy unnecessarily by moving your body weight up against gravity with every step instead of directing your energy to go forward.
Try to keep your stride relatively low, low to the ground, which is the most economical stride for endurance.
Think of a treadmill to better understand this point. The floor represents the strip of carpet on which you run.
We want to go with the floor and feel like we’re moving it back and forth with our foot like on a carpet.
How can I improve my running technique? Conclusion
We’ve explained some of the technicalities, but the basic thing is to relax and not overthink.
A bonus tip that will really help you improve your technique: work on one thing at a time.
Our brain is not able to concentrate intensely on many details all at the same time.
So take one point that is your main focus and concentrate on that, and then eventually move on to the next one, once the previous one has become second nature and you do it automatically.
If you’re feeling discouraged, read these tips to stay motivated to run: Running motivation for beginners: 5 Excellent tips