Published: 2018/11/08


Running is generally a solo pursuit. This has its benefits: you don’t need to wait for anyone else to exercise; you can go for as long as you want, and you can do it almost anywhere, anytime. But there are some definite drawbacks of exercising alone – the biggest one being that there’s no one around to watch you and give you the necessary pointers to improve your technique.

That is why the lovely team at Fernwood Ballarat has also outlined some useful tips to help improve your overall running technique.

Running well and running fast is a skill – it’s not something you were born with. Like any skill, it can be taught, so you can improve over time. The Fernwood Ballarat team has listed the 3 most common running mistakes, and what you can do to fix them. The top three common running mistakes are:

  • Over striding.
  • Landing on the foot too heavily.
  • Not using arms.

If you think your running is suffering from one of these three mistakes, here are some tips you can use to help you improve. Hopefully you will find once you’ve got the basics right, your technique will develop and your speed and distance will eventually increase as your running becomes more efficient.

  1. Foot landing
    Don’t run heel first. All elite runners and athletes land on the ball of their feet, not the heel. Landing on your forefoot allows your muscles to catch the weight of your body in flight, reducing the effect of impact on the joints and bones. The foot should land lightly and then ‘grip and scrape’ the ground as you use the movement to propel yourself forward. Keep the knee of the landing foot slightly bent to reduce your chance of injury.
  2. Stride
    Don’t try to leap forward too much with each movement. It places too much stress on the ankles, knees  and hips, and in terms of efficiency, it requires a lot of effort but doesn’t get you that much further. Make your strides shorter but more effective. Work out what the length your stride should be, using the following method: stand tall and lean forward, and when you feel like you are going to fall, step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride. It takes less energy to fall than to reach your foot in front of you.
  3. Arm positioning
    The work your arms do is just as important to your form as the work that your legs do. Your arms should be bent at the elbow at a 90 degree angle and stay bent at this angle throughout the movement. Palms should face inwards, not down. The ‘swinging’ movement should come from the shoulders, not the forearms. Keeping the upper back relaxed but straight (and not bent at the waist) will help you keep this form. Keep your head up and look forward, not down, and the positioning of your back will follow suit.