Perfecting Your Form: Part 1

running form 1.jpg

Every once in a while I’m driving down the street and I see a person running with form that puts a slight grin on my face. The poor thing looks like an egg beater.  You know you have seen them! Arms swinging out to the sides as if they are swattin’ flies, and legs twisting out at the knees as if they’re kicking some foreign object off their shoe with each stride.  It’s then that I say to my husband, I bet they would enjoy running more a) if they were more efficient,  and b) if their knees and hips were not so sore from the way they were being ripped by the outward torsion from the joint.

In regards to form, think of it as a top down approach, starting at the head:

Head: The head should be relaxed, with the eyes looking 4-6 feet ahead of you.  Your body should be slightly tilted forward.  Beware of being too tense through the neck because that will affect the tightness throughout your shoulders and arms.

Shoulders: When a runner is stressed the tendency is to bring the shoulders up toward your ears.  Your shoulders should be nice and relaxed as they help move your arms back and forth.


Arms: Do not underestimate the power of the arms!  In running, arms are used to propel you forward, make them do their job! If you are a soccer player, you likely run with your arms crossing your body as if you are going to elbow somebody.  Others, barely move their arms, and you can’t help but wonder if internally they are in their 80’s as they are shuffling along.

The text book states that in running, the arms (at the wrist) should swing from the hip to the eye ball. Your arms should not be coming across your body. If your arms are moving side to side, then the propulsion of moving forward is being limited, thus decreasing your efficiency. Have you ever thought, I’m running but I’m not getting anywhere? Check your arms, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. 

 As always, relax. Barbie always looks ridiculous running. If your arms are completely stiff, you obviously need to loosen up. Speaking of Barbie, how should I hold my hands?Hands: A close acquaintance (I’ll leave her unnamed) has never forgotten the day she ran her first race in elementary school and her friends teased her because when she ran her hands looked like a Barbie.

She later learned that pretending like you were holding an egg in your hand was much more efficient. I prefer the thumb on the pointer finger method.  I used to run with clinched fists, but with a little help from my coaches, they helped me realize that if I was tight with my hands I became more tight in my arms and shoulders. 


There it is for part one. Go out, hit the pavement and try tweaking a few things on your form. It may feel unnatural at first, but give it time and you’ll be surprised at the difference good form can make.

Special thanks to Kristen Guymon, Master of Exercise Science.

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7 Responses to Perfecting Your Form: Part 1

  1. Kristen May 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Great post! I love all the pictures!!

  2. Ashlee Willardson May 23, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Love the blog and all the tips I will be a frequent visitor :)

  3. Maria May 30, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Great post, thank you!

  4. Anna May 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Based on this, My dad has great running form, and I should run like him!

  5. KC Coake June 22, 2013 at 12:36 am #

    Great post! I will be thinking about this on my 8 mile run tomorrow morning. Plenty of time to analyze. I know for sure when I get tired or thinking the run is hard, my shoulders go up. I always try to be conscious of that one.

  6. Diane August 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Finally seeing your cute blog!! You are a doll Stac!
    I LOVE IT!
    I need your running expertise. :)


  1. Stick To The Plan and Enjoy It! | At Race Pace - May 13, 2014

    […] Admittedly, I thought Monday’s workout seemed pretty basic. But I stuck to the plan and threw in a little twist. I decided to work on additional areas (my arms and form) while my legs were enjoying the hike. I pulled out my wrist weights like THESE, and headed out on my hike. I focused on the front and back motion of the arm in helping propel me. I tried to remember to not let them cross my body horizontally, but tried to keep them nice and relaxed as I have a tendency to tighten my arms while I run!  So don’t forget to be creative if you feel like something is too east! If you need a refresher on running form click HERE! […]

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