Would you like a simple set of guidelines that would help your running feel healthier, faster, more efficient, more joyful, and more naturally connected to the world around you? Although human movement is complex and each person’s body, history, and learning process is different, I’ve been working on formulating the basic keys for good running form in one simple list for the past five years. My dream is to offer fundamental guidelines that will be transformational on some level to every runner who reads it. Here is my current version:
Print this pdf, read it over, and see if one of the first seven running form keys seems easy or comfortable to you on your next run. Allow yourself to relax into doing it and see if, after a while, you also find yourself spontaneously doing one or two of the other elements on the list. Just notice, don’t try to force anything to happen. Then forget all about it and think about whatever you want (perhaps what you’re having for dinner) as you finish your run. Next run pick another element that you’ve noticed yourself doing in the past or think you could do without working too hard or forcing anything, focus on doing that, and see which other elements on the list might appear after awhile. All of the keys are connected to each other and reinforce each other, so if you start with whatever part of the list is easiest for you, the rest is likely to develop over time.
The last two elements on the list are the strategies I recommend to you to allow your ideal running form to develop naturally. Have those in mind all the time.
As you work on this, always remember: good running form is easier, not harder, than bad running form. So allowing yourself to relax into doing these keys should not increase your level of effort or your heart rate! If they do, back off and try something different from the list.
I’ll write about each of the nine keys on the list in turn here in my blog in the coming months, so for further explanation please stay tuned.
I’m eager to hear how this goes for you, so please leave a reply letting me know your experiences!
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Jae Gruenke, GCFP, is a running technique expert and Feldenkrais Practitioner. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. She has helped runners from beginner to Olympian improve their form to become pain-free, economical, and fast.