You should always walk before you run and warm up properly. Nonetheless there's more that goes into running than just those two things. Whether you're new to running or it's your workout of choice, you want to ensure you're doing it correctly. Here's how to run properly to avoid injury and have an efficient workout.
Lean Forward With Your Ankles
If you’re standing still with a slight forward lean, you should feel like you’re about to fall forward - but don't actually fall forward. In order to run properly, lean from your ankles and keep a straight line from your ankle to the top of your head. Then when you start running, gravity will help keep you progressing forward. A proper lean from the ankles keeps your body in alignment and loads your muscles properly and efficiently, which is exactly what you want.
Increase Your Cadence
The next tip on how to run properly is to increase your cadence, or your stride rate. This is the number of steps you take per minute, which should be at least 170-190 if you're running at an easy pace. It's normal to increase once you start running faster, but you'll still be putting less stress on your legs with shorter foot strikes. Increasing your cadence actually has many of the same benefits as barefoot running, such as less impact shock, improved running efficiency, reduced chance of injury, and better form with taking more steps. A great way to stay on track is to run to a beat of a song or find a special cadence playlist.
Foot Strike Underneath Your Body
In order to run properly, you must have your foot strike at the right time. Basically when your foot comes down and makes contact with the ground, it should be underneath your body, not in front of it. This will distribute the impact shock efficiently, distribute your weight evenly and safely, and improve your running form tremendously. In order to do this, truly focus on where your foot is landing in relation to the rest of your body. Landing on a different strike can do more damage, so be sure to simply put your foot down flat in a straight line underneath your body and you'll be good.
Swing Your Arms Symmetrically
The way someone runs can go from goofy to professional just by how they swing their arms. To run properly, your arm swing should really be symmetrical and strategic. An ideal arm swing has your arm bent at about 90 degrees and a front to back swing, not side-to-side. Therefore when you run, your hands shouldn't cross the center of your body. Additionally your hands should be cupped loosely together and not clenched in fists in order to gain momentum and pump your elbows to keep running. Once you incorporate all of the above changes into your running form, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and know how to actually run properly moving forward.