Training

Running technique

A good running technique teaches you the best way to run in order to minimise the risk of injury and improve running efficiency.

Every runner has his or her own unique style, and there are no rigid rules that you must follow. But there are guidelines you can follow that will improve your running style.

A good running technique helps with the following.

  • Economical running. Having a good running technique can make running more energy-efficient by minimising unnecessary movement. You want all your energy to produce straight ahead movement, not a side-to-side motion.
  • Minimising the chance of injury. When you run, your forward foot hits the ground with a force greater than your body weight. Using the correct running technique and appropriate footwear can help to reduce the landing force and therefore the stress on your bones and muscles, minimising the chance of injury.

Correct running technique

The most important concept is to "run tall" - keep a good upright posture when running - and stay relaxed. Consider the following points when assessing your running technique.

How to follow the correct running technique
Area of your body Correct running technique
Head Hold your chin up, with your eyes focused forward to a point on the ground about 20 to 30 metres away. Imagine a string tied to the top of your head pulling your body upwards.
Shoulders Your shoulders should be square and level. Don't round your shoulders or swing them forwards or backwards.
Arms Keep your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees (right angles), keeping your forearms roughly parallel to the ground. Your arms should swing freely in a general forwards/backwards motion not a circle or a straight line.
Hands Hold your hands in a relaxed fist with the thumb resting on the forefinger.
Torso Your torso should be straight, with your chest up and plenty of room for proper breathing. Don't lean forwards, backwards or slouch, as these postures can interfere with your running mechanics and possibly cause a lower back injury.
Hips Keep your hips facing forward with no sideways movement and hold them level horizontally.
Legs Your leg action should be relaxed and feel natural.
Feet Feet should point straight ahead and land directly under your hips.

Publication date: June 2009

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