We all know how to run, right? But do we know proper distance running form? We’ve done it since we learned to walk. After our first steps, we are ready to conquer the world! But are you running right to allow yourself to successfully train for and finish your first marathon or half marathon?
For short distances, the runner should run “on their toes”. However, this is not true with distance runners. The proper distance running form is for the heels to make contact with the ground first or to run flat-footed.
Arms should be relaxed at about a 90-degree angle and by your side. The main thing is that your arms are relaxed. As you increase distance you will likely find your arms and shoulders to tense up. Relax them by shaking out the tension. One effective way to do this is to simply straighten your arms down by your side and shake your hands and arms for a few seconds until they feel relaxed. Another way is to extend both hands over your head to stretch them out.
Run low to the ground. Use energy to propel yourself forward, not vertical. Focus on an object ahead of you while you run. If you see it going up and down or feel yourself going up and down, then you are running too vertical. Keep your feet low and going forward. This will save energy and get you to the finish line faster.
You should be running at a pace that is comfortable to you where you can relax and maintain good running form. Run with your mouth open to allow you to easily breathe. Breathe in-in, out-out. Make a pattern of breathing step-by-step. In-In, Out-Out, In-In, Out-Out.
Posture is also critical and can be used to your advantage. You should be running with your back straight and your chest slightly leading the way. As you move into longer runs, you will find yourself beginning to slump over a bit. It is important that you realize this is happening so you may correct it. When you feel yourself slumping over, simply poke your chest out. Not only will you feel more comfortable physically, but you will also feel better mentally as you will feel a surge of confidence by simply poking out your chest. Be relaxed and confident and you will cross the finish line with your chest out and head high.