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Video:Proper Running Form-Gait

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Don't let your running form slow you down. Keep your body relaxed and efficient, and you'll be running faster and farther than ever.See Transcript

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Transcript:Proper Running Form-Gait

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Running is easy, right? All you have to do is strap on some shoes - or not - put one foot in front of the other, and go like the wind. Well, the hard part settles in when you're out there mile after mile, and your body is begging you to use it as efficiently as possible. So take a look at these tips, and you'll be running like a pro. Check it out.

Head and Neck Running Form

Above all else, let your gaze guide you. Lift your head so that your focus is toward the horizon, about 20 feet ahead of you. Keep your head level and your neck relaxed, and resist the temptation to look down at your feet. Even if you've got sweet yellow shoes like mine. It's tough I know, but just let everybody else admire your kicks from afar.

Running Posture

With your head up, keep your shoulders low, square, and relaxed. Tension in your shoulders is likely to increase as you get tired, so if you feel them creeping up, be sure to shake them out and relax as you go. Also, maintain an upright posture, keeping a straight spine and a long torso. This will not only help keep your gait where it needs to be, but it will allow your lungs to consistently expand to full capacity. And since you've got your shoulders, torso, and lungs in such great position, just don't forget to breathe. Feels good!

Tension in Running Form

The key here once again is relaxation. Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle, and let them swing naturally - front to back between hip and chest level - avoiding any crossing over the front of your chest. Your hands should be closed very lightly, with your thumb resting gently on top of your fingers. If you find yourself making a fist or tensing your forearms, shake them out once again. A lot of people these days like to carry things as they run - keys, cell phones, and MP3 players are pretty much the chief culprits. Avoid this if you can by using an arm or waistband for your tunes and such, which also leaves your hands free to rock out when you need that extra sumpin' sumpin'.

Lower Body Running Form

If you've got your upper body in line, keeping your hips centered and facing forward should follow with no extra effort. As you're running, keep your legs solidly below you - as your foot hits the ground, your knee should be bent slightly, and your feet directly below it. Keep your leg movement fluid, and your stride short to allow maximum turnover. Unless someone is chasing you, in which case you should lengthen your stride and run as fast as possible.

Keep a Light Running Gait

Finally, be sure to let your feet fall lightly, landing somewhere around the middle to the ball of your foot as it hits the ground. Once it lands, allow your foot to roll forward quickly, then push off your toes as you turn over your stride. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward for more power, and be sure the soles of your feet strike the ground evenly.

And that's about it. The best thing about all this is you've got nothing but time to work on all these parts of your body, so spend a little bit focusing on each as you go through your run. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, relax... and let running be fun!

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