Before you take your first stride as a runner, you need to be properly warmed up.

So is it ok to run on my toes? I was running on my toes and now i have ache in the leg.

Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Try to swing them forward and back, not across your body. The arm movement helps to propel you forward, so swinging them sideways is a waste of energy.

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How else can I help keep you injury free?

New runners can learn proper running form by avoiding "zipper lines" and "chicken wings" while "holding chips." These three easy visual cues are telltale signs that running form is breaking down. Fortunately, when we listen to our bodies and recognize these inefficiencies, each faulty habit is easily corrected.

Track your progress.  If your goal is to run a faster 5k, then keep track of how long it takes you to run a 5k!  If your goal is to run barefoot, keep track of your runs and extend your barefoot time each time you run.  “What gets measured gets improved.”

(There should be confetti shooting out of your CD drive right now).

Very well written article. Now I know how to get started on working on my running technique! Thanks Steve!

When we maintain good body position—head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over the mid-foot upon landing and arms swinging directly ahead—we run with good form and use less energy to run faster. If your arms, shoulders or back hurt or feel tense during training, you need a form adjustment.

On a related note: If I’m going through the ‘Beginning Body Weight’ training circuits, would running be a good exercise to undertake on the off-days, or should I work it in in some other way?

1 2 1of2 NEXT Related Items Marathon About the Author Brendan Cournane Brendan Cournane is a USATF and RRCA-certified running coach and motivational speaker based in Chicago. He has completed over 80 marathons, including one in all 50 States. Contact him at Coach@CoachBrendan.com or www.CoachBrendan.com. 

Whether you breathe through your nose or mouth, try to breathe deeply and rhythmically. Avoid shallow and quick breaths. Try to aim for one breath for every two strides, but don’t be afraid to try longer breathing.

Ultimately, I want you to do what makes you happy and keeps you healthy.

When most people think of warming up, they probably think of standing there and doing some static stretching for 10 minutes…you know, to make sure you don’t get injured!

So, clean up that diet, strength train every other day with something like the angry birds workout plan, and then do some form of low-impact activity on your off-days.  Things like:

I myself just started my running journey which for me wasn’t easy but now I truly enjoy his activity. And if you also are on the beginning of that road here are some tips which helped me, make running more efficient and simply fun

Improve your running with these podcasts for Couch to 5K graduates

Great post! Except there’s no actual video of running properly, the only video doesn’t show any full strides of the good technique versus the bad.

When I started running, I reached for a book. It was written by Stu Mittleman, a guy who has been running for over 30 years and has some great achievements to his name. I recommend having a read as it guides new runners in very well and helps get the most out of the sport.

There is a lot of chatter surrounding proper running form in today’s running world, which makes it very difficult to discern which approach is appropriate or suitable for you. To make matters worse, we have witnessed the likes of Paula Radcliffe set world records with what looks like a hiccup in her stride and more recently, watched Meb Keflezighi win the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials while displaying what some would argue is impeccable form.

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Your running mechanics are determined by the strength and flexibility of certain muscles and how your body is built. Here are a few basics to help you maintain proper running form on any terrain from exercise physiologist Adam St. Pierre and Christy Barth, a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist, both of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine:

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Which brings me to the point of today’s article.

When fatigued, our arm carriage changes and our body position often resembles the wings of a chicken—pulled up and close to the body. Our shoulders rise closer to our ears, as if we are shrugging and maintaining that shrug. Like a chicken, we can't fly very well with our arms held tightly to the sides of our bodies. The result is a shorter arm swing and, consequently, a shorter stride. By taking more strides, we use more energy to cover the race distance.

Stretching exercises to do after a run to gradually cool down and improve your flexibility

Chris McDougal, author of Born to Run, a book that will make you want to go run immediately after reading it, wrote a Men’s Health Article on how to run barefoot – “Imagine your kid is running into the street and you have to sprint after her in bare feet.  You’d automatically lock into perfect form — you’d be up on your forefeet, with your back erect, head steady, arms high, elbows driving, and feet touching down quickly on the forefoot and kicking back toward your butt.”

And even MORE info on where/how your foot should strike, thanks to the fine folks over at Harvard.

However, did you realize that running improperly, especially for long distances, can do some serious damage to your body while not even giving you the benefits you’d expect from putting in all of that effort?  Not cool, I know.

Just like with strength training, if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to run.  Cut the run short if you need to, but not the warm up!

Ultimately, the goal with this guide is to get you really good at running a 5k, and keep you healthy along the way.

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For the past month or so, I’ve been planning out and working on the Rebel Running Guide.

Mitchell Phillips, director of running experts StrideUK, shares his basic tips to help you run relaxed and efficiently.

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Look straight ahead of you, about 30 to 40 metres out in front, and avoid looking down at your feet. Looking down will create tension in your neck and shoulders. Keep your jaw and neck relaxed.