Don’t Run Away From Your (Running) Problems

My morning commute has a variety of checkpoints to deal with.

Getting through a particular set of lights.

Yelling at other drivers who simply do not understand how to merge onto the freeway.

Dealing with tradies who speed and weave in and out of traffic.

And most importantly – dealing with the frustration as I see numerous people running with really bad technique. I see all sorts of things. Arms thrashing needlessly across the body tippy toe running or gazelling as I like to call it. Being completely upright… the list goes on.

This is Carol. Not only is Carol swinging her arms in front over her and thus creating energy leakage and unnecessary twisting in her body; she also left the iron on which has set fire to her home. Not so smug now, are we Carol?

Sore knees, hip, lower back and shoulder pain are common problems that people who run. There are a lot of joints moving in order to get you moving forward!

Let me be clear though – Going out for a run is great. I love that people are motivated to do so but more times than not there are various technique issues that occur where they might be doing more harm than good. Regardless of your motivation to pound the pavement, it is vital that you have your technique right otherwise you could be creating more problems than you are trying to solve.

Evan's running technique is actually pretty good. The whole thing is ruined by the fact that he is getting totally motivated and pumped by listening to Nickelback. Seriously, WTF.
This guy’s running technique is actually pretty good. The whole thing is ruined by the fact that he is getting totally motivated and pumped by listening to Nickelback. Seriously, WTF.

Why is it that something most of us have taken for granted is being done so wrong? Just like anything – in order to do something well – you have to understand and practice practice PRACTICE! To help out because we’re a helpful bunch, have a look at our running technique checklist!


Keep your head straight with your chin level or slightly tucked.Your head should not be flung back as if madly dashing for the commuter train. Look straight ahead or look out and just slightly down. Don’t look directly down at your feet unless you are negotiating potential ankle-turning terrain.
Shoulders should be squared (not rounding in) and your chest should be thrust (slightly) up and outForm allows more oxygen into your lungs. Keep your back straight. Don’t hunch! A sagging running style or bending forward will inhibit oxygen intake.
Your back should be straight but not rigid.Avoid thrusting your shoulders back so hard that you seem to be forcing the shoulder blades together - doing so can result in tight neck/ back and shoulder muscles.
Your jaw should be relaxed and slack.Your mouth should be open for optimal breathing. Don’t squint or wince. (On sunny days - sports shades will help a lot.) Relax your face muscles!
Keep an approximate 90-degree angle in the elbow.Try not to break the angle in your elbow as you swing your arms back.
Carry your arms at waist level or slightly above waist level.As your arm swings up it should come up to about your collarbone. As your forearm comes down it will initiate your backswing.
Pretend that a line is drawn down the centre of your chest.Avoid crossing your arms over the imaginary centre line during the phases of your arm swing. Cross-over arms can result in a twisting motion — from the hips and waist — that sabotages running efficiency.
Cup your hands with the thumb resting lightly on top of the hand and thumb nail facing up.You should not clench your hands in a tight fist but neither should you run with open palms or a “doggy paddle” motion.
On the backswin the fingers of your cupped hand should lightly brush the side of your running shorts.The complete motion of the hand should look as if you are reaching for your wallet in a back pocket and then swinging forward again as if you are ready to shake hands.
Land lightly on the heel or midfootPreferably with your lead leg bent slightly at the knee to help absorb shock. Avoid “reaching” with your lead leg.
Lean from the ankles - not the waist. Good posture ensured.
Knee lift should be minimal(except on very steep hills) because too much up-and-down movement results in wasted energy.
When the leg swings back you should feel a “flicking” sensation with the heel and ankle.But the flick should not be so much that you are close to kicking yourself in the buttocks.
Foot should land directly below the hip
Run in a straight line.Foot should land directly below the hip. Make sure that your feet land in parallel paths and do not cross over. Crossover foot strikes are a sure sign of too much twisting and wasted motion.
After each foot strikedrive into your next stride with a good push off the toes or forefoot.

Now that is a LOT of information. So many fine points to consider. Don’t stress. If you think from head to toe and pick maybe 2-3 things to be conscious of when you run next, it will get easier. In fact, not only will you be reducing the wear and tear on your body but you will find the improvement in your technique will give you more, power, speed and endurance. It’s all about efficiency!

Another good thing to confirm is that your shoes are doing their job. Is your heel slipping in your shoe? Have a read of THIS article to ensure you are supported!

Still need some help? Don’t be shy – book a session with us so we can help you work out what is going on! We are here to help!

Jon 😉


Jon is a Metabolic Precision Transformation Specialist working from his Studio EPIC WIN PT in Newmarket, Brisbane. Follow all the fun and adventures by liking the Facebook page here

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