Good Running Technique

7 Bad Running Form Habits, And How To Avoid Them
◷ 3 minute read. In a hurry? Scroll down for our 60-second summary


good running technique - 7 bad running form habits

Good running form helps you train and perform at your best and prevents injuries. By contrast, a poor running action can sabotage your success and enjoyment as a runner. Particularly in marathon campaigns, where you’re likely to take over a million steps! So, in this blog post we’ll look at 7 common running technique errors to avoid for a highly effective running form.


Benefits of Good Running Form

Here’s a few reasons you’ll want to develop a good running technique;

  • Better running economy – it feels easier with less wasted effort
  • Lower impact on joints and tendons and better neuromuscular coordination to significantly reduce your risk of injuries
  • Improved running mechanics allowing you to run faster, for longer
  • Greater resilience in the later stages of races compared to runners with a poor action

Remember the key word is ‘good’. Your running action doesn’t need to be poetry in motion.

Unfortunately, many runners look more like poultry in motion!

running technique mistakes to avoid - runner with poor form

Running Form Fixes

You don’t want to waste valuable training time getting better at running badly! So, here are 7 common running technique errors to avoid for highly effective running, to help you develop good running form and maintain it.

Running Technique Mistake 1: Looking Down

Aim to look 30-40m ahead, keep your chin in and think of yourself running tall. To help, imagine a helium balloon tied to the top of your head, pulling you upwards.

running technique mistakes - looking down

Running Technique Mistake 2: Hunched or Tense Shoulders

Shake your shoulders loose before running and then keep them square, rolled back, level and relaxed.

running technique mistakes - hunched or tense shoulders

Running Technique Mistake 3: Wasteful Arm Action

Emphasise a straight backswing until your hand lightly brushes your waist, then allow the arm to swing forward in a slight inwards arc, bringing your hand up to chest height. Many runners find the mantra ‘pockets to sockets’ to be a useful cue – reminding them to drive their arms from in line with their trouser pockets, to in line with their shoulder sockets.

running technique mistakes - wasteful arm action

Running Technique Mistake 4: Leaning Forward From Waist

Instead, lean your whole body very slightly forwards from your ankles, move your chest up and out and gently pull your lower belly in.

running technique mistakes - leaning forward from the waist

Running Technique Mistake 5: Sitting On Your Hips

Press your hips forward and keep your bottom in as you drive your leg forward.

running technique mistakes - sitting back on the hips

Running Technique Mistake 6: Overstriding

Focus on light, fast strides without overreaching. Working to gradually increase your cadence (the number of steps you take per minute) can also help to reduce overstriding.

Running Technique Mistake 7: Stiff Action

Try to remember to conduct a regular mental body scan for tension, straining and clenching, and think soft face, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

running technique mistakes - stiff action

Running Form Drills

We realise that this is all too much to take in and work on at once! So we encourage you to work on correcting one bad running habit at a time, to improve your running technique progressively. And turn these actions into habits by building running form drills into your weekly schedule. You’ll quickly find your running form picks up in more ways than one!

Running Technique Coaching

Our running analysis service was designed to provide ‘normal’ runners just like you with a one-stop assessment of their running form, from head-to-toe, conducted by a qualified and experienced Running Coach. Now one of our most popular services, this 90-minute tune-up session and personalised written report has helped thousands of runners lay the foundations and build towards better running technique.

Make An Enquiry
More Info
what you need to know
  • You take too many strides in training and racing to be getting every one of them badly wrong!

  • You can get an instant performance boost by making a few simple changes to your running action

  • Good running technique is the aim… Don’t get hung up striving for perfect running form!

what you need to do
  • Fix the biggest flaws in your running technique one at a time

  • Add just a few minutes to your warm up to practice good running form

  • Think soft face, neck, shoulders, arms and hands as you run!

Share With Your Running Buddies!