If you pick up most running books, at one point or another, they discuss running form. You can get wrapped around the axle trying to analyze your running form while out for your daily workout, but I don’t recommend it. I try to pick one or two things to focus on during 1 or 2 of my workouts each week that way I don’t get overwhelmed and it doesn’t monopolize my thoughts while running! Here are a few tips for checking your form while running:
Head carriage– Keep your head straight and look forward. You can keep your eyes directed slightly toward the ground to be aware of what’s underfoot. Imagine that you are a puppet and there is a string running up your trunk and through the top of your head. You want to keep that string straight!
Arms– Keep your arms bent at approximately 90 degrees, and make sure they are relaxed. Try not to clench your firsts because this will cause tension in your upper body and waste energy. I pretend that my hands are gently holding an egg—I don’t want to crush it! Also try to keep your arms moving back and forth, not side to side. If you swing your arms across your body, you are causing more rotation and are therefore not as efficient.
Jaw—You see a lot of people with clenched jaws when they race, especially at the end of the race or in shorter distance races. Not only will a clenched jaw make it harder to breathe easily, it causes a lot of tension in your face and neck (another source of wasted energy!).
Cadence—I have mentioned before that I occasionally run with a metronome to focus on optimal cadence. I usually aim for 180. A cadence of about 180 helps to make sure you are not over-striding and that you are landing on your mid to forefoot.