Are You Running Properly?

are you running properly

Running comes naturaly to the human body and, as children, most people do it perfectly without thinking about it. In fact, many experts argue that humans are literally built to run. While it might not feel like it sometimes, your body is the greatest running machine on the planet. It’s able to outrun nearly every other animal out there over long distances. This incredible strength and efficiency is the result of many features that are unique to humanity: the shape of your toes, the size and placement of your glutes, your numerous sweat glands, your springy joints, among many others oft-ignored aspects of your body.

Considering all this, it’s pretty amazing – and frustrating – that so many people injure themselves while running. It should really be the one thing that your body can do with relative ease. And yet the statistics are there: over 79 percent of runners will get hurt this year. Clearly, then, something went wrong somewhere down the line. According to many experts, humanity has simply forgotten how to run in a way that complements our natural mechanics.

The solution, then, is to fix your form. Let’s take a step-by-step (no pun intended), look at what it means to run properly.

    • Keep your head up and look straight ahead — While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional glance down at your feet – since this could prevent all sorts of problems – it’s important not to allow your head to droop. This will place strain on your neck and shoulders, causing issues all the way down to your hips. Looking forward, by contrast, helps keep everything in line.


    • Relax your shoulders — Many runners have the tendency to hike their shoulders up when they run. Stop it. If you notice your shoulders keeping up toward your ears, consciously relax them. Similar to your neck, tightness in your shoulders can create problems throughout your kinetic chain.


    • Straighten your back and tighten your core — A strong, straight back can prevent all sorts of overuse injuries to your hips, as well as reducing strain on your other muscles. While it’s just good practice to be aware of this as you run, regular core training will make this even easier.


    • Watch your stride length — For some reason, people often overextend their legs when running. Fight that injurious urge. Your leading food should land directly underneath your knee. This allows your ankle and knees to work together in absorbing the stress of impact. In fact, some research suggests that this is even more important than which part of your foot hits the ground first. Despite all of the debate around whether your toes, heel or mid-foot should be the strike point with each stride, the evidence seems to suggest that this is a highly individual thing that will be heavily influenced by your musculature, training, terrain and speed. So don’t overthink your strike.


    • Launch off your toes — While it doesn’t seem to matter what part of your foot lands first, it is very important that the ball of your foot leaves the ground last. As soon as your foot hits the ground, allows it to roll forward and use the balls of your feet to propel yourself forward.