Everyone has probably been told to "sit up straight" at least once in their lifetime. But, maintaining proper posture outside of the dinner table or work desk can often go overlooked. And posture when you run? Unless you're a pro, you may not even think twice about it. As it turns out, though, you'd be wise to adopt proper running form before lacing up your UA HOVR™ Machina Running Shoes ($150) and hitting the pavement for your next training run.
According to Chris Hoffman, RRCA-certified running coach, NASM-certified personal trainer, and cofounder and owner of Formula Running Center, proper running is beneficial to runners for many reasons. "When you're running, your entire body is involved in some way," explains Hoffman. Engaging the entire body properly on a run helps it stay strong and efficient. Not to mention, those runners competing in races may even see faster pace times if they also focus on form while training.
"For any runner to achieve the best race results, running efficiently — relaxed and with good form — is required," he says. "When we maintain good body position — head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over the mid foot upon landing and arms swinging directly ahead — we run with good form and use less energy to run faster." Basically, if the body is moving efficiently, it will utilize energy properly and make the whole experience better.
Thankfully, the key to proper form isn't as difficult as you may think. Hoffman says it's important to stay relaxed to avoid any extra tension, which can waste valuable energy needed for a run. What's more, he explains runners should think "head to toes" when practicing good form.
Check out his quick "head-to-toe" guide for mastering proper form:
- Head: Keep your head neutral with your eyes focused straight ahead.
- Shoulders: Maintain relaxed, pulled-back shoulders.
- Arms: Hold arms at 90 degrees, making sure your hands aren't clenched. Pump your arms hip to chin, and don't cross the midline of your body.
- Torso and Hips: Keep a long spine with a slight lean from the hips.
- Legs: Drive your knees with each step.
- Feet: Land on balls of the feet, and imagine pushing off the ground rather than lifting off.