As you get started with your regular running workout routine to improve your fitness, one of the top things that you need to make sure you are learning and then staying on top of is your running technique. All it takes is one slight error in form that gets ingrained in as a habit to lead to long-term injuries.

With running, as it is a very repetitive activity, if you aren’t doing something quite right, you are going to be doing this ‘not quite right’ movement over and over again. This means with each stride you take, you will be further putting yourself at risk for a serious injury.

It should come as no surprise then that running is an activity that maintains one of the most leading rates of overuse and chronic injuries.

Fortunately, if you take care as you get started with your running workout routines, you can avoid these problems before they start and build good form at the beginning. If you then carry on this good form for time to come, you will be able to fully enjoy the years ahead in your running career.

As something just starting, you have a clean slate so build good habits and you’ll enjoy your runs more, see greater progress, and most importantly, stay problem free.

Let’s go over a few of the top tips to remember regarding perfect running form.

Your Head Position
The very first thing that you should be taking note of is your head position. If you aren’t using a proper head position, it’s going to impact the rest of your posture, eventually leading to back pain and pre-mature fatigue.

To maintain good position, you’ll want to look ahead naturally, making sure there is no downward tilt in your head. A downward tilt is the worst position to adopt, so care must be taken to ensure you don’t use this. Some runners may be prefer to look upwards slightly, just above horizontal.

The Shoulders
Your shoulders are a critical element of maintaining good form and are going to help ensure that you are getting oxygen into the muscles and heart as you should. To maintain good posture, you should think of keeping your shoulders lower, not squeezed up into your ears and then also making sure they are kept loose.

Many runners hold a great amount of tension in the shoulders, which will just lead to strained muscles over time.
Try your best to also make sure that they stay in alignment with each other. You don’t want one shoulder rising up higher than the others at any point during your workout routine.

Your Arms
Next up you have your arm position. Maintaining a good arm position will be vital to avoid wasting excess energy on the arm swing. Arms should be naturally bent with fists related, but hands are generally closed.

While some runners really do prefer the open hand position, most will find that a very loose fist works best.

One trick that’s often recommended to runners in terms of hand position is to think like you are holding a chip in your hand and don’t want to crush it. This way, you won’t overload the tension, keeping things nice and relaxed.

Your Midsection
As you move through your run, one trick to think about to keep your torso in proper alignment is like there is a string that’s tied to your head and is pulling upwards. This will lift up the upper body, open the lungs, and help ensure that you are getting proper oxygen in.

When you run in a slouched position, it’s harder for oxygen to move into and out of the lungs, which will increase your time to fatigue as well.

Hips
The next element of your body position to make sure you’re maintaining in an upright position is the hips. The key here is thinking of contracting the abs slightly and lifting the hips up. You want to avoid a swap back in the hips as this will put the back in an unnatural arch position, which then can create great strain on the lower back vertebrae.

Think of your hips being like a bowl filled with water and if you tip too far in either direction, that water will spill right out.

Legs
With regards to your leg position, there are two main things to remember. First, you don’t want an excessive bend in your knee. A slight bend is all that’s needed in order to maintain good position and avoid wasting any excess energy.

Second, you want to make sure your legs are in such a position that your foot lands directly over your toes. Doing so is going to help ensure that you are not going to land placing great strain on the knee joint, which would quickly cause tension on the ligaments.

Land with your foot directly under the body, with the stress of your weight being placed between your heel and midfoot.

So there you have the key tips to keep in mind as you go about your running training routine. Make sure you are also logging your mileage using a running application such as Zen Lab’s Runner’s Buddy Free – Pedometer GPS Step Counter so that you can approach your progress in a slow and steady manner and stay injury free for the months to come.

Try these techniques and let us know what works in the comments below!