Tips for Proper Running Form

Improving your running form can help you run quicker, more efficiently, and with less stress on your body. Follow these tips to work on perfecting your form.

Look Ahead

Your eyes should be focused on the ground about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. Don't stare at your feet.

Land Midfoot

Don't be a toe runner or a heel-striker. If you land on your toes, your calves will get tight or fatigue quickly and you may develop shin pain. Landing on your heels means you have overstrided and you're braking, which wastes energy and may cause injury. Try to land on the middle (ball) of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes

Keep Hands at Your Waist

Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle. Some beginners have a tendency to hold their hands way up by their chest, especially as they get tired. Ironically, you may actually get more tired by holding your arms that way and you'll start to feel tightness and tension in your shoulders and neck.

Relax Your Hands

As you run, keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible. You can gently cup your hands, as if you are holding an egg and you don't want to break it. Don't clench your fists because it can lead to tightness in the arms, shoulders, and neck.

Check Your Posture

Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level. Check your posture once in a while. When you're tired at the end of your run, it's common to slump over a little, which can lead to neck, shoulder, and lower-back pain. When you feel yourself slouching, poke your chest out.

Relax Your Shoulders, Too

Your shoulders should be relaxed and square or facing forward, not hunched over. Rounding the shoulders too far forward tends to tighten the chest and restrict breathing.

Rotate Arms from the Shoulder

Your arms should swing back and forth from your shoulder joint, not your elbow joint

Don't Bounce

Try to keep your stride low to the ground and focus on quick turnover. Too much up-and-down movement is wasted energy and can be hard on your lower body. The higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater the shock you have to absorb when landing and the faster your legs will fatigue.

Keep Arms at Your Side

Avoid side-to-side arm swinging. If your arms cross over your chest, you're more likely to slouch, which means you're not breathing efficiently. Imagine a vertical line splitting your body in half -- your hands should not cross it.

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  1. Shan Says:

    Hi there Penangites,
    I'd like to take this opportunity to let you guys know that the Borneo International Marathon is set for October 12th 2008 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
    The three runs offered are the full 42km, the half(21km) and the 10km.
    If any of you would like to find out more please email me at or visit us at and

    Cheers and happy trails
    Shan Sandhu,
    Event Coordinator
    Borneo International Marathon

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