A runner must run with dreams in his heart. Just as you should maintain good posture when standing or sitting, maintaining a relaxed, upright posture while running is essential.

Good posture will help release tension and reduce strain in the neck and shoulders, which can prevent muscle fatigue. The idea is to run in a relaxed manner with as little tension as possible. Follow these four proper posture principles to do just that. Read part 2 of this article here.

Fundamentals of improving running form

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Hold your head high, centered between your shoulders, and your back straight. Imagine your body is hanging from a string that is attached to the top of your head.

Do not lean your head too far forward; this can lead to fatigue and tightness in the neck, as well as the shoulders, back and even your hamstrings. While a backward lean is not as common, doing so puts greater tension on your back and legs, so avoid that, too.

Focus your gaze approximately 30-40 yards in front of you. Looking down when running can lead to greater strain on the neck muscles and spine, which can lead to fatigue especially in the latter part of your run. Relax your jaw and neck.

Holding too much tension in your face and neck can lead to tension in other parts of your body, making for an inefficient–and tiring–run. Keep your shoulders relaxed and parallel to the ground. Do not pull your shoulder blades together, as this increases shoulder tension.

Your shoulders should hang loosely with a slight forward roll for optimal relaxation. If your shoulders rise toward your ears or tense up during your run, drop your arms and loosely shake them out. Do this several times during your run.

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Running drills for better form

Barefoot running

One of the best drills you can do is to take your shoes off and run barefoot on a track or even around your house. I’ve done quite a few running clinics where I’ve asked people to run with their shoes on and then with their shoes off.

Once they started running barefoot, their running form changes. Running barefoot allows you to feel exactly what is happening to your feet as you run.

Adjust your posture

Another drill is to focus on your posture. Runners are told to run upright, which people interpret as standing up straight. But when you stand up, all of your joints are perfectly aligned.

Running with your shoulders forward allows the curvature of your spine to be natural. Keep your hands close to your body, elbows back and chest forward.

Stay light on your feet

Practice running with a quick and right step. One of the most important attributes of a runner is a quick turn-over and light foot contact with the ground. Like athletes in all other sports, constantly refining and adjusting your technique is a lifetime pursuit.

Click here to read part 2 of this article.

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