Improve Your Running Posture
Running is one of the easiest ways to keep fit – all you need to do is lace up your shoes and off you go, right?
Prepping for a run takes a little bit of thought and preparation to ensure that you’re doing it right and protecting yourself. Incorrect form can lead to pain and soreness tomorrow, as well as more serious injuries and joint problems later in life.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple things you can do to improve your running posture, which not only prevents potential issues but also makes it feel better in the moment, so you can run further, faster, and maximize the benefits of your workout.
We talk you through 5 steps you should take to improve your running posture, all the way from lacing up the right running shoes to stretching out properly after your run so that every footfall feels great.
1. Wear The Right Running Shoes
It goes without saying that your running shoes should fit you right – but what does that really mean?
Good running shoes offer enough support and cushioning to protect your body with each stride, while still allowing you to feel in control of each step. Before you commit to a purchase, test out a new pair of stability running shoes to make sure:
- The upper part of shoe suits shape of your foot – don’t choose a style that rubs, chafes, or scratches against any part of your foot.
- Your heel should fit comfortably against the back of the shoe – there shouldn’t be any slipping or digging, but it shouldn’t be too tight either.
- Your toes should have space to stretch out comfortably so they’re not crammed against each other or the edge of the shoe, but they should also feel supported.
- The sole of the shoe should have the traction you need to suit the type of running that you do, whether you’re on the treadmill or the trail.
If possible, visit a specialty running shoe store and ask a professional to analyze your stride and help you find a shoe that suits the way you run.
It’s also important to pay attention to the condition of your shoes and replace them when they’re worn out. If you spend a lot of time in the gym or on the treadmill, your running shoes might look pristine on the outside but the insoles and the base could be in need of attention.
2. Think About Your Upper Body
In general, try to maintain an upright position when you’re running. It’s easy to slip into bad habits, especially when you feel tired. However, this can result in muscle imbalances and strain on certain parts of your body, as well as inhibit your performance as you’re not making the most of muscles or lung capacity.
Try to think about using each part of your upper body to work together as one moving part:
- Head: Keep your gaze in front of you, with your chin straight (not dipped or lifted) and your ears in line with your shoulders.
- Shoulders, arms, and hands: Remind yourself to keep shoulders relaxed. It’s very normal for them to tense and scrunch up, especially as you get tired. Try to combat this by squeezing your shoulder blades together and letting your arms flop around at your sides every now and then, to loosen up.
Your arms should be bent to imitate a90 degree angle. Make sure to keep them close to your sides and try to let them move parallel to your torso, rather than crossing over your body.
Pay attention to your hands and keep them relaxed – like your shoulders, they have a tendency to tense up while you’re running, especially as you get tired.
3. Be Mindful Of Your Lower Body
Everyone has their own unique running gait, and it’s important not to try too hard to change the way you move, as it can lead to frustration, discomfort, and injury. However, there are certain things you should think about in order to improve your general posture, which will ensure you’re running in the best possible way for your body.
- Torso and hips: Think about leaning into the running movement–keep your core tight but not totally upright, allowing your torso to be slightly in front of your hips so you’re using your core and glutes to generate power and movement.
- Knees, legs, and feet: As a common spot for injury, it’s important to pay attention to your knees – when your foot touches the ground, it should be right under your knee and your knees should be pointed straight ahead (not bending in or out).
Try to propel yourself and land on the ball of your foot, as opposed to your heel or your toes. Lift your feet up in a way that feels natural to you, but don’t let them scrape against the ground, which can happen towards the end of a run when you’re feeling tired.
4. Change Your Gait To Suit The Terrain
Your body will naturally adjust to the environment you’re running in, but it’s worth reminding yourself to use correct form, in order to protect your body and improve your experience.
If you’re going uphill… Try to push your hips forward so you don’t end up scrunching up and leaning over. Take smaller steps, use your toes a bit more, and set your gaze a few feet ahead of you, rather than way at the top of the hill, to protect your neck (and your motivation!).
If you’re going downhill…Don’t slam on the brakes and put too much pressure on the knees. Instead, work with gravity and allow yourself to move quickly down the hill while still keeping your shoulders upright.