When it comes to training your body to run faster, something that often gets overlooked is running form. Mastering your form will not only contribute to you achieving personal bests, but it’ll allow you to do so with less effort, due to your body moving in a more fluent motion. Rather than fighting against a potentially bad habit you may have picked up, here are some tips and tricks to help you improve your running form:

One piece of technical advice to always remember:

Run Taller. In 21st-century living, we go from being hunched over a desk on an office chair to slouched on the sofa and often carry this bad posture over as we run. To fix this, imagine a puppet master pulling you up with a piece of string through the centre of your head whilst you’re running. Then imagine that your pelvis is a bowl of water, not tilted too far forward or too far back in order to keep the water from spilling - this is especially important towards the end of a run when you’re fighting fatigue.

My favourite plyometric drill to help with running form:

My all-time favourite plyometric drill for running is the jumping split squat, as it emulates a running motion whilst really challenging the muscular coordination required to do this exercise.

​​How to:

Start with feet apart in a lunge-type position. Dynamically extend the legs to jump the body into the air.

Switch leg position before your feet land and immediately on landing, jump onto the next leg and repeat. Be sure to land in an upright position on each rep.

A good core exercise to help with running form:

Your core isn’t just your ‘six pack’ abs - it covers a broader range of muscles that impact every movement in your stride. The side plank is a good exercise that targets your obliques (an area that most runners neglect).

How to:

Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your lower forearm whilst holding your top arm on the side of your hip with your feet comfortably stacked on top of one another.

Whilst lifting your body, keep a straight diagonal line from your head to your feet and avoid any drop in position as you hold the side plank.

An upper body exercise to help with running form:

A strong upper body is essential for transferring energy in the full running motion. Try running without moving your arms for 30 seconds, and it’s pretty tough!

I’m a big fan of press-ups because you get a big bang for your buck. Not only are you challenging your upper body, but you also increase core stability and build strength in your chest, triceps and shoulders.

How to:

Get down on all fours in a plank position, placing your palms facing down slightly wider than your shoulders. keep your arms and legs straight.

Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up.

A good foot strike drill to help with running form:

A great drill to do before every run is the dynamic straight leg run drill as it promotes quicker turnover and more efficient coordination as you run.

How to:

​​Keeping your legs straight and your toes pointing down, run forward, landing on your midfoot whilst not allowing your feet to come too high off the ground. Keep your torso upright and strong.

Whilst doing this, ensure you are running with a faster turnover also to promote quicker ground contact time. The shorter time your feet touch the ground, the more spring you’ll have in your step!

A technique boosting running workout: Moneghetti Fartlek

Moneghetti Fartlek is the perfect running workout to work on your technique because it’s a continuous workout, meaning you can constantly work on your form as you’re getting further fatigued. The 15-second reps at the end allow you to challenge that neuromuscular engine without overreaching because 15 seconds isn’t a long recovery after running 15 seconds hard!

Here’s the workout:

2 x 90 seconds effort / 90 seconds float recovery

4 x 60 seconds effort / 60 seconds float recovery

4 x 30 seconds effort / 30 seconds float recovery

4 x 15 seconds effort / 15 seconds float recovery

A drill that uses different terrain:

I have one go-to drill I like to do before the cross country season hits, and it’s called trail hill bounds.

The beauty of this drill is that it promotes a forward lean at the waist, which promotes landing underneath the hip rather than out in front of you (overstriding) and it encourages you to run with a powerful knee drive whilst making those all-important glutes work hard. An overall enhancement of running technique!

How to:

Run with an 8/10 effort, driving the knee up with the longest stride you can (without overreaching), pushing off of the toe, through the calf, hamstring, and glutes.

written by

Marcus Sladden

Digital Marketing Manager at NoblePro from Norwich

Age group: Open
Club: Bungay Black Dog Running Club
Coach: Self Coached

Functional Training Strength Training half marathon marathon track & field 10k