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Workout Wednesday: Why Correct Posture Matters When You Run


Running. You love it or you hate it — there isn’t much of an in-between. Whether you love it or love to hate it, running never looks overly complicated, does it?

Yeah, running seems pretty simple and straightforward. However, proper form (yes, running has a proper form) is key to avoiding injury, and it may even help you enjoy running a bit more than you do.

So, why does form matter so much? Let’s find out.

Running, Good Posture & Success

Just about everyone has probably been lectured about posture at some point in life, and it’s likely been related to sitting (and maybe even standing). “Don’t slouch! Sit up straight!” is something you’ve probably heard from teachers, grandparents, and maybe even your mom. You’ve probably rolled your eyes and did what was said (or continued to slouch if you’re a bit of a rebel).

The thing is, there’s a whole lot of truth to this posture thing, and not just when it comes to sitting. Posture has a huge impact on your stamina and performance when you run, too. Form and posture are just one of the keys to success when running.

Maintaining a Strong and Healthy Core

In other posts, we’ve talked quite a bit about how a strong core plays key roles in your overall health. Your core muscles are what keep you standing. They also help you move from side to side and support you when you sit. The importance of your core isn’t to be forgotten.

Running supports a healthy core, but like Burnham Coaching says:

Good core training is all about maintaining good posture and a neutral spine … The best “core” activation comes from movements where proper spinal position is being challenged while the arms and legs are doing work.

So, how exactly does running challenge your posture and help support your core? As you run, you’re fighting gravity. The further you run, the more fatigued you become, and that makes it harder to maintain proper form. Burnham Coaching again offers a good example:

Impact forces from running can also make slightly bad posture a lot worse, causing further breakdown. For example, a slightly forward head posture in running will exponentially increase the pounds of pressure on the cervical spine with each step making the head come even more forward.

The big question though, is how do you know if you’re form is incorrect?

Tips for Maintaining Proper Form

The graphic below is a great indicator of common postures. Check your own posture against the ones indicated and make adjustments when needed.

Image Credit: Burnham Coaching

It’s important to remember that your running form is the result of different factors and that it can be changed to help you be a more successful runner. Your strength, flexibility, and body build all have major influences on the way you run.

Even with these factors, it’s possible to maintain good running posture. Below are some tips:

  • Keep your core strong and healthy. Maintaining a strong core helps you stay upright, which is key to proper running form. Leaning too far forward, which most runners do when tired, may lead to an injury. Keeping your core toned and healthy helps you stay upright even when you’re tired.
  • Maintain a short and quick stride. Many runners think a longer stride is good. Not all the time. Keep a comfortable stride. Reaching too far forward with your foot may lead to injury.
  • Wear good running shoes. Supportive shoes that offer a comfortable fit are a key piece of the posture puzzle when it comes to running. Be sure to find a pair that works for you.

How do you maintain good form while running? Do you have any additional tips? If so, please let us know by leaving a comment.

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