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Proper Running Form

Like all physical activities, running requires a proper posture and form. Failure to maintain it will result in loss of performance and injuries. Here is a detailed guide on keeping the right form while running to ensure a great run.
We all know that running is one of the best cardiovascular exercises. But why is the proper running technique so important? Because, if you do not use the proper form for running, you might end up injuring yourself. Often, running in an incorrect posture for many years, can lead to injuries. Hence it is important that you know the correct form, so that you can run, injury free for a long time. Secondly, by knowing the proper form for running and jogging, you will be able to run more, as your body will be able to cover more distance with lesser effort as you exercise. And whether you're looking for the proper form for long distance or the proper sprinting form, you will be running with the same posture.

Proper Form For Running

The word 'form' means the posture, the way each of your body parts involved in running are positioned. Like I said, running with the proper form helps avoid injuries and may also help you run faster. So let's start 'from the top' as they say!

Head Position
The first thing you need to watch is the position of the head. A lot of people prefer looking downwards while running, but that puts undue pressure on the neck of the runner. The head must be kept straight and you should be able to look forward.

Shoulder Position
The next thing you need to mind is the shoulder position. A lot of people have the habit of keeping their shoulders shrugged or rigidly kept upwards. The treadmill or any other place where you want to run demands that you keep your shoulders low and loose.

Arm Position
Do not keep your fists tightly clenched as though you're preparing to punch someone. Keep your fingers pointing inwards toward your palms, but do not clench it too tightly. Also, swing your arms backwards and forwards. Do not swing the arms towards your legs, as that will only block your run and reduce your speed.

Torso Position
While running, the torso should be upright and straight. If the torso is bent, then the body has to make more effort to run. By keeping the head and shoulders positioned correctly, the position of the torso will automatically come correctly. An upright torso also ensures the optimal use of your lung capacity.

Hips Position
The hips are our center of gravity, so they need to be kept in optimal position for sprinters. When the rest of your body, the head and the torso are positioned properly the hips naturally assume the correct position. The hip should also be straight and should not stick out while running.

Legs Position
Now depending on whether you're running a sprint or a long distance race, the leg position and the stride will change.The long distance needs you to run fast and conserve your energy all at the same time. So for long distance runners, they need to take a shorter stride with a lesser exaggerated knee lift.

Sprinters on the other hand needs a quick burst of a run. The runner has to lift his knees higher so that when the feet fall to the ground, they can push themselves off the ground better. For a sprinter, it is also important to maintain a longer stride.

Feet Position
The feet also play their part in a good efficient landing and then propelling the body forward for the next step. The runner should land between the heels and the mid foot, then roll the feet forward within the landing and then push off ahead.

The proper form for running will help you run faster, longer and without injury. So, why not try it out today?
By Arjun Kulkarni
Published: 3/15/2010
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