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Perfect Running Form Checklist and Tips

February 6, 2013 | Raymond Tucker

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No matter how fast you are, running in perfect form is the only way your body will be able to achieve top speeds. Run efficiently without wasting energy and prevent serious injury with the following checklist. (See also Master the Four Points of Good Running Form.)

Keys to Perfect Running Form

  • Keep your head in line with your spine
  • Do not sway from side to side or move forward and backward
  • Keep your eyes focused straight ahead
  • Relax your jaw and neck
  • Shoulders stay down and relaxed. Shrugging the shoulders will lock the hips and cause you to slow down
  • Your arm movement should come from the shoulder joint with your arm in a closed position in the front. Your  back arm should be in an open position with an L shape, as if you were reaching for your wallet
  • Fingers should be extended
  • Inhale and bring your belly button into your spine. This will tilt your pelvis in the forward position to support the spine and activate the core. Pretend like someone punched you in the stomach
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Now raise your heels slightly. Keep your body in this tight upright position
  • Bring up one knee. Make sure your toe is up in your shoe. Your back leg should be extended and not bent. From the knee-up position, extend the leg at the knee, bring your leg under your hip and bring up your other knee. Keep your ankle cocked at ground contact, and start recovery mechanics by bring your heel to your glutes. Repeat the cycle. (See another Sprinting Form Checklist.)

Remember running and sprinting are like riding a bike in that the leg action is cyclical. I recommend spending time every day working on the correct posture before running or sprinting. To get the most out of your running form, I recommend you master a short distance before increasing your distance.

Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
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