Hate Running? Hurt Less By Improving Your Form

Running can be great exercise, but it can also cause runners a great deal of unwanted pain.Most runners who experience pain from running don’t have medical conditions. Instead, many people are actually causing themselves pain by having poor form while running. It isn’t the running that is the problem; it’s the way that you’re doing it. Whether you run on the track, at the park, or on the treadmill; running without proper form is bad for your body and can cause injury, pain and stress on the body.

Running sounds simple, right? It’s just walking at a faster pace and putting one foot in front of the other! Not so simple. Running is actually quite complicated when you are considering how to find the right form and balance. Without the proper form, you’ll wind up with injuries and pain. Professionals work hard studying the best form to ensure no injuries, as well as to increase their performance, so it is obviously a very important thing to think about.

Here are some of the top trainer recommended tips to help you stay on your feet and feeling good while running.

Proper Foot Positioning
First, you need to pay attention to what your feet are doing. Your feet are carrying you while running, and they are one of the most important parts to proper running style. Not planting your feet properly will most certainly wind up in disaster. Runners actually have quite a heated debate about where to plant your feet because everyone’s form is slightly different, but there is a right way to do it. To land with the smallest amount of pressure (which will save your knees in the long run), you will want to land right in the middle of your foot. This will also help you to push after each step off the ground easily. You do not want to land on your heel. Next, you want to roll your foot toward your toes, and spring off the ground. You want to try to land quietly and softly. If you can hear the beating of your feet on the ground, you are doing something wrong.

Head and Neck Positioning
While running, you want to keep your head evenly lifted over your backbone. While it may feel like it is necessary while running long distances to rest your chin on your chest, this can cause neck pain and will make breathing difficult. If your head is balanced and positioned in the right way, you will be running more efficiently and you will get the most out of each step.

Hands and Arms
Next, be sure that you are keeping your arms relatively still while running. We’ve all seen them- the runners who flail their arms around while running which looks like a comedy routine. If you are doing too much with your arms, you are wasting muscle strength and energy. This also causes a problem with efficiency. You want to make sure your arms gently move back and forth at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your fists are not clenched, which also tires out your muscles. Try to maintain a relaxed form and run with slightly open palms.

Shoulder Positioning
Similarly, you want to ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and at ease. Many runners, unbeknownst to them, keep a stiff upper back and shoulder area, which can cause problems with sore necks, shoulder pain, or headaches after running. While running, be sure to breathe deep, which will help your shoulders remain relaxed. If you are feeling tense, roll your shoulders backwards in circles. You want to be sure your shoulders are positioned directly over your hips and that you are not slouching. Besides being inefficient, this will cause pain throughout your back, neck, and shoulders.

A number of runners have back pain, and it is from a strange source- your stomach. It is important that while running you strengthen your stomach or abdominal area. Think as if you are trying to pull your belly button through your back, strengthening your core. This will help your back to remain stable and will help you lessen the pain that you normally felt in your lower back after a good run.

These are just five of the easy to accomplish tips to make sure you are running with proper form. This will ease pain that you experience after running, and by heeding these warnings, you will notice less pain immediately. You’ll be able to run faster, longer, and will suffer none of the unnecessary risk involved with a poor running style.



  1. Post is great ..

    But you must also write about the proper shoe .. it is important .. else you hurt your heels, ankles, knees and more..

    Most injuries / pains in running are because you aren’t wearing proper foot wear and aren’t running at a pace with suits you.

  2. Make sure to address running uphill and downhill in future article. When it comes to downhill running, most people have no idea what they’re doing, and they do a serious number on their knees!

  3. I was a runner when I was in middle school and the start of high school but I don’t ever remember the coach telling us to land on the middle of our foot. We tried to stay primarily on the ball of our foot. I am not saying that it isn’t better for you, jus that I have never tried it. Doesn’t make you feel like you are stomping on something?

  4. In addition to the proper running form, I agree with the other read that it is just as important to use the proper running shoe. There are lots of different kinds of running and cross training sneakers, each one designed for certain benefits. The sneaker that recently won the editor’s choice award in Runners World magazine is the Brooks Ghost 5. It retails for $110.

  5. I haven’t been running long and I only do it on the treadmill so I’ll have to try this landing on the middle of your foot thing, that seems like it would be against human nature to do that. I used to run in track when I was young and we were taught to run on the ball of your foot because that was the strongest part and the shoe only had spikes there.

  6. This was very interesting, especially the foot position, I tried that as I was reading this blog and that just feels weird, to me it feels like I am stomping in order to land on the middle of my foot. I have seen runners that run primarily on the ball of their foot because that is where your spikes are as a track runner. Is this wrong placement? Thank you for your article.

  7. I never realized the importance of having a good running form because throughout my youth, I was always very athletic and very healthy. Seldom did I ever suffer any injuries. In fact, the worse nagging injury I ever had was pulled hamstrings. And that, I suspect, was due to not only my lacking flexibility and strength in that muscle, but also my running form.

  8. I never really think about foot position when I am jogging either on the road or on a treadmill. It is only after I feel a strain on my calf or arch of my foot that I start to think about how I am planting. One of the most important things for runners is a quality, shock absorbent, running sneaker – not just any sneaker. A quality sneaker can go a long way in minimizing the impact on joints.

  9. I have been running most of my adult life. I am just entering my middle age, so I have yet to experience any serious injury or chronic pain. But I have felt inflamed knee joints during certain times. Unless you are a triathlon competitor who has to train by running long distances, I would say you should not rely on running alone for burning fat. There are many other ways to burn calories that are low impact, such as Yoga, Kempo Karate, jump training, and so on.

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