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Whether you’re a competitive athlete looking to get faster on the field or court, a racer in search of PRs, or a more casual runner who wants to get better, developing good running form is key. 

As we train athletes in our centers, we emphasize keeping the feet underneath the hips (avoiding overstriding), adopting a more upright posture, relaxing the upper body, and utilizing the arms to help with forward propulsion. Developing this form often requires breaking old, unconscious habits that can be pretty deeply ingrained, which can take a little bit of time.

Here are a few tips to move that process along so you’re running better, sooner. 

1. Take a look at yourself. Many people are visual learners, and really get it when they can actually see themselves in action. At Athletic Republic we utilize the Dartfish video feedback system with a 15-second delay that makes it easy to see your form and to explain our coaching points. 

2. Reset your form as you run. Over the course of a run, you’ll start to get tired, your posture will sag, and your form will start to collapse. It’s helpful to set reminders (perhaps an alarm on your phone) that will serve as ‘resets.’ At those times, run through your cues (e.g. shoulders down, knees high, whatever you need to work on) and get your form back on track. Some people find it helpful to imagine a string attached to their head that’s pulling them upward into a more upright position. 

3. Get stronger. Hip strength and core stability will help a lot with maintaining good form, which is why we put so much emphasis on this at Athletic Republic. A training program that builds functional strength will make it easier for you to maintain good running form over longer stretches. It also helps with preventing injuries.

4. Take time to recover. As you’re training your muscles to do new things, you want to take care of them. Even just a few minutes of rolling out with a foam roller after a run will help them recover and get ready for the next one. And make sure you’re not trying to do too much at once, so you don’t develop an overuse injury. 

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that you need to be patient. Running correctly will feel hard (and tiring) at first! If you have deeply ingrained bad habits or are missing the hip strength that will help you maintain good form, it will be difficult to keep it up for long. That’s okay! 

Just keep trying to work in periods of time where your form is correct, and you’ll find that eventually you can run with good form for longer and longer periods of time.