How to Run Properly

Essential Tips for Improved Technique and Performance

Running is a simple and effective form of exercise that offers many health benefits, from improving cardiovascular fitness to boosting mental well-being.

However, to maximize the advantages and reduce the risk of injury, it’s essential for runners to learn the correct technique.

Proper running form involves more than just moving your legs; it’s about the entire body working in harmony, from the position of your head to the motion of your arms and the placement of your feet.

Choosing the right gear is vital for a comfortable and safe running experience. While seemingly straightforward, the selection of shoes, clothing, and even accessories like hydration systems or reflective gear can significantly affect performance and enjoyment.

Lastly, whether you’re a beginner looking to start a new fitness journey or an experienced runner trying to enhance your skills, following a structured training regimen tailored to your experience level is essential for progress and can help prevent overuse injuries.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper form is crucial for effective and injury-free running.
  • Selecting suitable running gear enhances comfort and performance.
  • Structured training programs are pivotal for runners of all levels.

Basics of Proper Running Form

Proper running form is essential for efficiency and injury prevention. This section breaks down the fundamental aspects of posture and movement that runners should maintain.

Head and Neck Alignment

The runner’s head should be held up, with the gaze directed forward. This aligns the neck and spine, reducing strain. Eyes should focus on the ground about 10 to 20 feet ahead.

Shoulder and Arm Mechanics

Shoulders ought to remain relaxed, not hunched, to promote effective breathing. Arms swing naturally with the elbow bent at approximately a 90-degree angle. Hands should be relaxed, avoiding tight fists.

Core Engagement

A strong, engaged core stabilizes the runner’s torso. This prevents excess movement and energy waste. Abdominal muscles should be slightly tightened, as if preparing to absorb a light impact. This engagement supports posture and balance.

Running Gear Selection

Selecting the right gear is crucial for a comfortable and effective running experience. The gear should enhance performance, protect against the weather, and prevent injuries.

Choosing the Right Footwear

Footwear plays a pivotal role in running. Runners should consider their foot type and gait when selecting shoes. Stability shoes are recommended for individuals with overpronation, while neutral shoes are better for runners with little to no pronation. Proper sizing cannot be overstated; there should be about a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe to allow for foot expansion during a run.

Cushioning is also essential. It absorbs impact and provides comfort. However, the amount of cushioning required varies; some runners prefer a minimalist design that promotes a more natural foot strike. Here’s a quick reference for selecting running shoes:

  • For overpronators:
    • Strong arch support
    • High stability
  • For neutral pronators:
    • Moderate support
    • Balanced cushioning
  • For underpronators/supinators:
    • Enhanced cushioning
    • Focus on flexibility

Appropriate Clothing for Different Weathers

Choosing clothing that suits the weather conditions ensures safety and comfort. In hot weather, runners should opt for light-colored, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabrics that aid in heat dissipation and sweat evaporation. Sun protection through a hat or visor and UV-blocking fabrics can also be critical.

In cold weather, layering becomes vital. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating layer, and top it off with a windproof and water-resistant outer layer. Runners must cover extremities with gloves and hats as these parts of the body are prone to heat loss.

Hot Weather Clothing:

  • Tops: Lightweight, wicking materials
  • Bottoms: Breathable shorts or skirts
  • Accessories: Hats, UV-protection sunglasses

Cold Weather Clothing:

  • Base layer: Moisture-wicking thermals
  • Mid layer: Insulation like fleece
  • Outer layer: Water-resistant and wind-proof jackets
  • Accessories: Gloves, thermal hats

The right gear supports a runner’s performance while also keeping safety and comfort at the forefront. A well-chosen outfit complements the weather, while carefully selected footwear accommodates individual running mechanics.

Training Regimens for Various Levels

Different levels of runners require tailored training regimens that cater to their experience and endurance. These targeted programs help runners progress effectively and prevent injury.

Beginner Techniques

For those new to running, starting with a walk/run strategy is essential. Beginners should run for 1-2 minutes and then walk for 2 minutes, repeating this cycle for at least 20 minutes. An example week could look like:

  • Monday: Rest or cross-train
  • Tuesday: Run/walk 20 mins
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Run/walk 22 mins
  • Friday: Rest or cross-train
  • Saturday: Run/walk 25 mins
  • Sunday: Rest

Consistency over intensity is critical for beginners to build endurance and prevent overuse injuries.

Intermediate Training Strategies

Runners at an intermediate level can increase their workload and incorporate tempo runs. They often follow a plan that includes a mix of easy runs, speed work, and long runs. A sample training schedule is:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 5 miles (easy pace)
  • Wednesday: 1 mile warm-up, 3 miles at tempo pace, 1 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: Rest or cross-train
  • Friday: 5 miles (easy pace)
  • Saturday: Long run (7-10 miles)
  • Sunday: Rest or easy run

Interval workouts should also be introduced, such as running 800 meters at a hard pace, followed by 400 meters of jogging or walking.

Advanced Running Workouts

Advanced runners often focus on speed and mileage. They incorporate hill workouts, advanced interval training, and tempo runs longer than those of intermediate runners. An exemplary workout regimen could include:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 1 mile warm-up, 5 x 1 mile at 10K pace with 800m recovery jogs, 1 mile cool-down
  • Wednesday: Medium-long run (10-12 miles, easy pace)
  • Thursday: Hill repeats, 8-10 repetitions
  • Friday: Easy run (6 miles)
  • Saturday: Long run (15-20 miles at a steady pace)
  • Sunday: Recovery run (4-6 miles, easy pace)

Strength training twice a week can benefit muscle balance and running efficiency at this level.

About Me

Hey, I'm Mark and I've been running for around eight years. I'm by no means an elite runner. I'm in the mid-pack, doing what I can to improve and learn along the way.

I've learnt a few tricks along the which I share on this website and my Instagram: