Because so much of our time is spent at a computer or on our phone, it’s become natural to slouch a little in our everyday life. But running rounded or slumped over will take a toll on your whole body, so it’s important to make sure your head is in line when you run.
To make sure, try this trick! Place your middle finger and thumb across your collarbone, and then extend your pointer finger upwards, making a tripod for your head.
Your pointer finger should fall right underneath your shin. If it doesn’t, adjust so that it does, and try to maintain that position throughout your entire run.
Beginner Running Technique: Shoulder Position & Arm Swing
Shoulder tension is another contributor to that slouched position. Luckily, it’s an easy fix! When you’re running, simply remind yourself to relax and roll back your shoulders, periodically checking in to see if they have creeped up since you last checked.
As for the arm swing, beginning runners often let their arms swing across their body, which actually reduces the power of the swing! Instead, be sure your arms stay on the sides of your body, just swinging forwards and backwards, with your head up tall and your shoulders back.
Beginner Running Technique: Hips
Our hip position is a big determinant of stride length and form. For a good, long stride, your hips need to be upright, with your hip bones facing forward. Imagine your hip bones were the headlights on a car – they should always be shining forward!
Keeping your pelvis upright will ensure a long stride, and it gets those hamstrings and glutes firing, creating a more even distribution of weight on the legs.
As you can see in the image above, Coach Holly’s hips are pointed down towards the ground, causing her whole body to slouch, and reducing her stride length.
We also want to avoid sitting into our hips as we land on our legs. To do this, focus on keeping the same amount of distance between your knees throughout your run.
If you are running along a line on the ground, keep your feet equidistant from it the whole time, or just imagine you’re doing this if there is no line.
If your feet start to drift closer to your center as you run, chances are you’re collapsing into your hips as you land. Periodically check in and make sure there is adequate distance between your knees.
Beginner Running Technique: Legs & Feet
For leg technique, start by focusing on how your legs come off the ground. Ideally, our run stride should be right in the middle of a “high knee” and a “butt kick.” So aim to pull your feet up right underneath your pelvis, without the run looking too much like either of those exercises.
Now, let’s talk about our feet! If your feet are scuffing the ground as you run, it’s because you’re not picking your feet up high enough off the ground. To combat this, focus on that pulling technique mentioned above.
If you’re landing too heavy on your feet, sort of stomping on the ground as you land, try to pick your feet up a bit faster, creating a quickness and lightness in your run.
Beginner Running Technique: The Workout
Let’s put all of this together, shall we?! To do this, head out for a 30-minute run. After every 5 minutes of your run, spend your 6th minute focusing on one of these body parts. Notice what your body does naturally, and fix it accordingly.
So after your first 5 minutes, spend the next minute thinking about your upper body. Repeat that again only spend the next 6th minute thinking about your hips. Continue this pattern all the way down to your feet.
Finally, spend the last 6 minutes of your run letting all of this come together, noticing the parts of your body that need the most adjusting mid-run!