A runner’s form is like his or her’s handwriting. It is a natural way of using arms and legs and propelling yourself forwards. Over a short time, people can get away with imperfect form for basic running, particularly if they are younger and / or running not too many miles. Once you get older or increase your activity, the legs and body begin to protest repeated bad form by giving you pain or later an injury.
To find one’s best stride, you lean forward until you have to take a step – that is about where your normal step would be. Your arms should be bent at approximately 90 degrees (any less of an angle towards straight gets more air resistance) and should go in a small ‘v’ in front of you. Your arms should almost brush your shirt and not be very wide away from you (more air resistance). You should not have your arms go in front of you across your body making an ‘x’ as that takes the energy from moving forward to moving side to side. What direction do you want to go? Forwards! Obviously there are many other things to consider: arm balance, shoulders, foot imbalances, etc. – these can all be analyzed by a professional. With tips from what you learn, you can make small adjustments to make your running more efficient.
There are people whose feet pronate from side to side, land on their heels, etc. – that is a whole other discussion that is related to form but not to be discussed here. People always need to get the best shoes as a defense. For tips on buying new shoes, click here. For more runner injury concerns and questions, click here.
As always, listen to your body and try to be the best that you can be –