Running Posture

Kaleena Lawless

Personal Training Specialist

I've been running for about four years. After learning how to run properly it has improved my run-times and has also minimized injuries. Running posture is important, especially for distance runner who are likely to suffer from repetitive impact injuries.


From head to toe, here is running posture:

Head- Run with your head up and pointed forward. Don't look at your feet as this compromises the rest of of your running posture.

The best visualization technique I've learned is the "puppet posture." Picture a string coming out of the top of your head, pulling you upright. You are hanging there and your feet are barely touching the ground. Using this technique, I actually get a sense of floating or flying. It makes running seem even more natural than it already is and keeps me aligned in perfect form.

Eyes- Are facing forward but are darting around every few seconds to watch for cars, pedestrians and obstacles that could injure you on the sidewalk.

Ears- Should always be listening. If you run outside with headphones don't blast your music. Keep it at a volume low enough to hear cars, sirens, horns and people.

Mouth- Should be relaxed. A good test that tells whether you are running in a relaxed position is jiggly cheeks.

Shoulders- Neutral and not tensed up. Don't clench or pinch your shoulder blades together or pull them up toward your neck.

Arms- Bent at the elbow making a 90 degree angle resting at your side. They should be loose and relaxed. Not stiff and tucked in your body.

Hands- Slightly cupped and again, relaxed.

Torso- Flexed, moves with the legs and hips. Use your abs to help propel you, give you stabilization and maintain balance.

Hips- Facing forward and flicking left to right with the legs.

Butt- Put some glute in to your runs. Flex your glutes and concentrate on each stride coming first from the butt, then the legs. You can really get a great glute workout running uphill.

Legs- Shorter running strides are better than the long ones. They reduce injuries like muscle pulls and strains. They also save energy during long runs. You don't want to burn out before crossing the finish line because you are moving your legs inefficiently. However find the balance between the long and short strides. You still want to be running, not shuffling along.

Knees- Slightly flexed to take impact. Sprinters raise their knees more than endurance runners for power.

Feet- Run heel to toe. Not on your tip toes. Your feet should land directly underneath your body.

Putting it All Together

Always start your run with a warm up. Your body needs time to get the idea that you are indeed, running! I find that sometimes I even walk funny for the first few minutes simply because my body hasn't coordinated itself yet.

Muscles also need a warm up to reduce injuries.

As you start running gradually increase your speed as to not shock yourself and lead your bod to an early burn out.

Remember to cool down at the end so your heart rate and circulation can go back to normal before taking it easy.

Everybody has a different running style but as long as you follow the basic principals of running posture your runs will go smoothly an injury free.

Have a Great Run!

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  • Wice says
    That's quite a list to remember but it all sounds sensible and useful. I would probably look at just a couple of these factors on each run - do it bit by bit, changing one or two things at a time to see if the made any difference to how I felt.

    I wonder if the same points could be applied to posture for walkers too?
  • Anna says
    i do often see people running in such strange positions and you think it must be so bad for them... but i generally find as long as i have the correct shoes it kind of puts me into the right posture naturally...
  • Roz says
    I've always maintained that I don't have the 'gait' for running. I'd watch all these other people running with such effortless motion and swore they were plainly 'different'.

    But as I've done more walking/jogging I'm finding that my 'gait' has developed. The biggest hinderance to my running/jogging is my breathing/asthma.

    I recently started reading a book "Chi Running" which was all about running with a slight forwarded lean.

    I tried it during the Round the Bridges run and it magnifies your speed with very little effort...

    ... must finish reading the book (*hunts around desk) and see if it can answer my breathing issues.
  • Wice says
    Talking about chi (this means life or energy), I find practicing Tai Chi helps enormously with my breathing.

    For either your wonder or your amusement, here is a video about a guy who apparently uses 'Chi' in extraordinary ways. You be the judge, strange stuff! Personally, I wouldn't risk the avoidance of bullets by using your chi fields!

    Do watch to the end of the video.

  • Sophia says
    Thank you for sharing these advice. They are very helpful for me.
    instagram online

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