Improve Your Running Form: Tips and Tricks from a Physical Therapist

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Want to improve your run form? Before taking your first step (get it?), it’s best to set the right mindset and foundation for better habits.

As a physical therapist specializing in running, I often encounter runners eager to improve their run form and performance. While changing your running form can lead to faster splits and few injuries, it’s important to realize that change takes time.

Research has shown that forming new habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, depending on the individual and the complexity of the new behavior.

When it comes to running, fatigue can also play a significant factor. Most runners’ form falls apart when tired, and it’s why practicing both fresh and tired legs is important.

While improving your run form may seem daunting, the benefits pay dividends on every run. With dedication, consistency, and patience, you can reap the rewards of fast, efficient, and injury-free running for years.

Here are some tips to help you incorporate new running form habits:

  1. Start Small: It’s important to make small, incremental changes to your form rather than trying to overhaul everything at once. Doing so makes the process more manageable and less overwhelming.
  2. Focus on One Change at a Time: Avoid multiple changes to your form. Multi-tasking makes it harder to focus and allows new habits to form. Focus on one change at a time, giving it time to become a habit.
  3. Find a Cue: It’s easy to zone out during your runs. Try to find a cue that will bring you back to mindful running. Associate your distance beep from your watch as a reminder to check in on your run form.
  4. Practice Consistently: To improve your run form, practice consistently. Practice your new run form in small increments each time you head out. Then, increase your increments over time until the new habit forms.

Important to remember:
Changing your running form is worthwhile and can help you hit your time goals and prevent injury; however, changing the run form requires patience.

Start small while focusing on one change at a time. Find a cue that provides frequent reminders to check in on your form. Finally, practice consistently.

Changing your run form can be challenging, but once a new habit forms, you’ll see benefits for years to come.

Want to improve your run form?

Join the Midfoot Project 5-week run form bootcamp for the first time ever inside the RunSmart app. You’ll get a customized training plan, five guided audio runs, access to our team of Physical Therapists, and a community of like-minded runners.