Running Form

Experts say not to worry too much about form. One of the great runners of all time, Emil Zatopek, looked much worse running that you ever will. He thrashed his arms and bobbed his head, and won four Olympic gold medals, looking more like Jerry Lewis than Carl Lewis.

Your form is greatly dictated by your biomechanics, by how your feet hit the ground. If you swing one arm widly, it may be for naturayl reasons to balance what your legs are doing.

That being taken into consideration, with all things being peftect, here are ideas about "good" running form.

Run upright. Your back should be straight, roughly at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Ignore anybody who tells you to "lean it in," event when running uphill.

Look straight ahead. Unless you are enjoing the scenery, your eyes should be focused straight down the road on a point moving about 10 yards in front of you.

Swing your arms naturally. The angle at the elbow between your upper and lower arms should be about 90 degrees. Your hands should be loosely cupped, about belly level. Let your arms swing in rhythm with your legs. The legs should control armswing, not the other way around.

THe most natural landing is mid-foot, the ball of the foot landing first, the heel contacting the ground a fraction of a second later, the two pushing off a fraction after that. Some runners land further forward, or backward, based on what feels natural to them

Your first steps may be awkward, but after you have been running for a while, your running form will begin to improve as the condition of your body improves.

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