Running Posture

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Good Posture


Pain points caused by bad running posture
Work on your posture when running

Each person’s running posture is different. Running postures vary according to your genetic makeup as well as your postural habits, movement patterns, body weight and size.

However, you can improve your running technique with awareness and techniques training.

I see a lot of runners that present themselves to my clinic with a range of injuries or aches, including foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain. Because they run so much, any movement dysfunctions or poor postural habits they may have when running can allow problems to develop over time leading to pain. We need to correct the underlying cause of the pain to keep them on track so to speak!

There are many training programmes for correcting your running posture on the market today. I am a runner and triathlete myself and took part in a Chi running workshop given by our very own Irish runner Caitriona McKiernan back in 2010. The course was very interesting, very productive and I gained a lot through my attendance. I found that it helped me to enhance my own approach to running and also helped me to offer better support to my clients - especially those who wished to run injury-free and enjoy the long list of health benefits that running offers.

Now, I find that when I work with my clients in my physiotherapy practice to achieve and maintain good posture I use these new techniques along with the variety of proved and tested approaches I have used previously. Here are some of my tips to be aware of when running and getting fit.

Tips for maintaining a good running posture:

  1. Be aware when running: It is very important to be aware when you run. This means you are aware of your posture, breathing and running technique. If you are not aware then your running style is more likely to have a stressful effect on your body - as you may not notice when something is going out of kilter and the effect that this is having.

  2. Hold your tummy in: Simple but effective advice. When you are running hold your lower tummy in. It will help support your lower back and your overall running posture. This is a Pilate’s technique.

  3. Imagine a helium balloon coming from the top of your head: This will lengthen your body and allow you to get the most out of your run. By improving your posture and ‘running tall’, It will help take the pressure off your lower back and knees.

  4. Move your arms: This is very important. You need to move your arms equally right and left. You should move your elbows from at least 3 inches in front of your chest, to 3 inches behind your chest in the arm swing phase of running.

  5. Run on the soles of your feet: This is easier on your body than landing heavily on the heels of your feet. Think of light feet movements and run on the padded part of your foot.

  6. Breath deeply: Will help the rhythm and ease of your run. Focus on your breath from the outset and breathe deep and long.

  7. Relax your shoulders: Very often I see runners holding too much tension in their shoulders when they run. Allow your shoulders to relax - and the rhythm and quality of your run will improve. The effort involved in your run will reduce also.

  8. Be happy: Will help you to relax in your run. Think happy things - after all we are so lucky to be able to run!


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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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