Check Your Form: Proper Running Form Checklist

Running is one of those great sports that doesn't take a lot of equipment, gear or know-how to get started. Most people can strap on a pair of decent running shoes and hit the streets to begin their running journey. The more that we get out there and practice the better we get at it. 

When you run with proper form your body moves more efficiently through the motions. You can run longer and harder with less risk of injury when your form is in check. How's your form? 

You should embrace your natural running mechanics and make any changes to your form slowly over time. If you find that you need to make a lot of changes, choose one at time and practice it until it becomes second nature before moving on to the next correction. Here are six easy fixes to your form that can result in more efficient running.

Running Form


Keep your neck straight with your eyes looking straight ahead. Avoid looking down at the ground.


Shoulders should be back and relaxed. Drop your shoulders, do not shrug up towards your ears.


Arms should be at 90 degree angle. Pump arms forward and backwards, do not cross arms over the front of body.


Elbows should be kept close to your sides, do not allow them to flare too far out to the sides (aka Phoebe Buffay). Don't do this...ha ha.


Hands should be unclenched. Imagine holding a single potato chip between your thumb and forefinger.


Your feet should land directly under your center of gravity, not far out in front. 

So how did you do? Is your form in check?

Have questions? Leave them in the comments or be a part of my new series "Ask the Trainer" and have your questions answered in a future blog post.

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Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.