Improving Running Form

According to some research, running injuries are extremely common, with some statistics estimating that as many as 90 percent of runners miss training time every year due to injury.

Fixing Your Running Form
2 Strategies to Fix Your Running Form

As I was doing research for this, I thought back to all of the different runners that I’ve run with and I can tell you that as many people as I’ve run with, there have been that many different running forms.  So while there isn’t an ideal running form, there are certain places within our running form that we can work on to be more efficient and minimize the risk of injury. Within the literature of research, the overall yearly incidence rate for running injuries varies between 37 and 56%. This suggests that every year, the average runners who does a limited amount of running will see some sort of an injury 50% of the time within a year.  Moreover, bad running form can expose runners to poor mechanics, bad efficiency and overuse injuries. About 50 to 75% of all running injuries appear to be overuse injuries due to the constant repetition of the same movement. If you have bad form and you really don’t do anything about it to fix it, you’re more likely to see an overuse injury – an injury caused because you’re deficient in areas that prevent a natural running motion. 

Improve Your Running Form
Improve Your Running Form – Hip/Foot Placement and Arm Swing

I can’t stress enough that your running form cannot be fixed overnight.  It’s something you have to acknowledge as being flawed and then work on over a very long period of time.  If you fall into this category and know your running form is bad, you can contact me and I can analyze your running form – go to and fill out your information.

Check out my podcast episode that goes with this post!!

2 Strategies for Improving Running Form

So let’s dig into the ways you can work on your running form.  I’d start by filming yourself from the front, side, and back. You should do this at a pace that’s quick, but not too quick.

Foot and hip placement:

When your foot lands, have you ever noticed where your hips are in relation to your foot? In an ideal situation, your hips will be over your planted foot.  Your hips are your center of gravity and when your hips are out in front, you can use gravity to assist you in your forward momentum. To do this, you’ll want a good lean – from your ankle joints and not from your hips – to provide that initial forward momentum.

Further, when your hips are in line with your feet, you’ll have the opportunity to land in a more forefoot or midfoot position.  This too will help your running form as a midfoot plant will speed up your running cycle and allow your trail leg to cycle through quicker.

Arm swing:

 Improving your arm swing can greatly improve your efficiency and power output.  Start by keeping your thumbs in an upward position. This will pull your elbows close to your body, thereby reducing wind resistance.  If and when your arms are splayed outward, not only are you increasing the surface area you’re creating, it’s also rotating your lower body.  This rotation of the lower body will put undue stress on your shins, knees, and hips causing potential overuse injuries.

Also, by keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle, you can improve your power output.  The propulsion you can create with 90-degree angles is greater than arms at any other degree.  

OK, so let’s recap: we can work on our running form only if we know something is wrong!  To get your form looked at, head to or email me at

Proper Running Form
Working on Proper Running Form

I discussed hip and foot placement – when your hips are over your foot as it’s being planted, you’ll have the ability to land midfoot, your trail leg will be able to cycle through at a quicker rate, and you’ll use gravity to your advantage.  In the case of your arm swing, the faster (And more powerful your arm swing is, the faster and more power you can create from your legs. When your arms go side to side, so does your lower body. To be the most efficient, you’ll want your elbows as close to your torso as possible.

Need more about running form?

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