Form 101: Running Posture
Good posture is an important element of running form that helps runners move more efficiently, avoid injury, and have a positive mental outlook.

Guidelines:

  1. Run tall: Keep the spine straight and the shoulders back with a slight forward lean. Keep the head up so the chin is parallel to the ground. Do not hunch over, lean far forward or backward, look up or down, rotate the hips back, or let the body drop towards a sitting position.
  2. Keep the torso stable, with the entire body facing forward. That means eliminating unnecessary and counterproductive movements that waste energy and aligning the head, hands, knees and feet to face forward. Avoid these common inefficiencies: head bobbing, head shaking, body swaying, body twisting, knees and toes pointing inward or outward, and the hands angling inward.
  3. Stay relaxed throughout the body. It is especially important to relax muscle groups not directly involved in the running motion, such as the facial muscles, jaw, neck, shoulders, and hands.

Performance Points:

  • Running tall will increase lung capacity, leading to increased endurance and a more powerful running stride. It will also help athletes properly position their center of gravity and maintain proper alignment, which will prevent injuries and allow for efficient running.
  • A general sense of relaxation can have a positive psychological effect on runners by promoting feelings of ease, comfort and control. It can also improve performance by saving the body's supply of oxygen for the muscles needed for the running motion. Releasing tension also allows the joints increased range of motion for fuller, more fluid movements.
  • For ways to teach good posture, look at the activities featured in A Running Start.