Improve Your Running Form

By Jay Stephenson
July 1, 2011

Running form is important. Look at the world’s best and you will see smooth flowing forms that look effortless at very fast speeds. Improving your form can be one of the most perplexing things for even a seasoned runner. One of the difficulties comes with learning to change your form when you can’t see it in action.

How to Improve Your Form
How do you work on your form? Have a Form Day. Recently I have devoted several days of my training specifically to form running.
Here are some recommendations for your first of many Form Days:

• Watch this video from “Good Form Running” and bring the PDF with you to run (or just download it on your phone).
• Get someone to film your running. With the prevalence of smart phones you can watch your form and make changes.
• Bring some low profile shoes (a racing flat or spikes)

Here is what you do:
• Start with the Lunge matrix see video here
• Review the form tips and get your posture right, find your mid foot, get your lean correct, and count your steps for the first minute of running (*180 steps/min is the goal). Run for 10-20mins and count your steps for 1min every 5-10mins.
• After your 10-20min run switch to your flats or spikes and do 10mins of Drills video here. Focus on finding your mid foot.
• Strides-practice everything you just reviewed by doing 6-10 strides of 100-200 meters with perfect form while someone is video taping you.
• Change back to trainer or keep spikes/flats on. Cool Down for 10-20mins and count your steps for 1min every 5-10mins.
• Go home and watch your video or just view it on your phone. (notice asymmetries of your arms and try to get them symmetrical)

Quick look at the Form Day

  • Lunge Matrix
  • Set your form
  • Warmup 10-20mins
  • change shoes
  • 10mins Drills
  • 6-10X100-200m **strides, change shoes or not
  • Cooldown 10-20mins
  • Watch video

*180 steps per minute is a marker of good cadence in running. If you are within 5 steps per minute over or under then you are ok.
** Note that the strides are not an all out sprints, but just a little faster than you normally run so that you can focus on your form.

This is a great training idea to replace the regular 50-70min easy runs that you normally do. Not that the regular runs need to go away or that they are bad in any way. This is just a way to still get your running time in while dedicating some time to work on your form.

Doing this 1 or 2 times per week will also help you stay injury free by increasing your strength, flexibility and efficiency.


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