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I have the best physical therapist ever. She’s so awesome that I continue to check in with her even though I’m not injured. I usually visit her every two months or so just to make sure I’m still running with proper form. Form is something I’m always striving to maintain, especially on longer runs. There are five main things my PT has taught me about maintaining good form. How many of these do you focus on when you run?
1. Foot strike. Your foot should land underneath your body—not in front of it. This is one of the hardest for me to always get right. Overstriding is a common problem and something I’m always working to correct.
2. Run tall. Basically this one is really simple—you should be running tall and not hunched over. Sometimes I see pictures of myself when running and realize that when I tire, I start to hunch. Focus on running with your chest proud and your shoulders down. It helps remind your body to run tall.
3. Use a quick cadence. I’ve written about cadence before but it is an important part of form. When you bring your feet down (right underneath your body), make sure you are picking them back up again quickly. I aim for a cadence of 175-180 steps per minute.
4. Arms at side. When I run, I sometimes get crazy arms. They start pumping across my body instead of right beside me. Try to remember you want your arms to pump you forward, not diagonal.
5. Head up. This one is hard for me. I live in the city where we have uneven sidewalks and I don’t want to fall! However I try to remember to run with my head up and to look forward. Sometimes I think “forward motion” and that helps me to remember to look straight ahead and not down while I run.
The cool thing is that all these form tips flow together. If I’m running tall, my head tends to be up high. If I’m hitting my cadence, then I’m naturally bringing my foot down right where it should land. If all those other things are on point, then my arms are naturally pumping back and forth at my side.
Do you focus on form when you run?