6 Mistakes Beginning Runners Make & How to Correct Them

Moving in the most energy efficient way possible is the defenition of proper running form. Keeping your head  over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over mid-foot, arms are bent at 90-degrees swinging near your sides, and fingers are lightly placed together like you’re about to karate chop something.

Patrick Gildea ,Director and head coach at Knoxville Distance , says you can run down a mental checklist to see if your form is correct. Ask yourself if you’re running tall with relaxed shoulders, chin down, eyes ahead and fingertips at your waist.

“These are simple cues that you can use to remind yourself during the difficult stages of a run or race to get you back on point,” explains Gildea.

6 mistakes beginners should know about according to Gildea

Mistake #1: Heel striking. Your feet shouldn’t lead heel-first in front of your hips, since this will require more effort to push off the ground. Instead, you want to land mid-foot.

Mistake #2: Tip-toeing. Tip-toeing is when you land on your toes. This also makes it more difficult to push off the ground.

Mistake #3: Over striding. The bigger the stride, the faster the runner, right? Nope. Trying to lengthen your stride unnaturally is a surefire way to getting injured. Aim for shorter, faster strides.

Mistake #4: Slow cadence. You want your feet to hit the ground 180 times per minute (count your steps for 15 seconds, then multiply by 4). The slower your cadence, the longer your feet are on the ground, and the more energy it takes to lift them up.

Mistake #5: Stiff upper body. It may sound contradictory to run strong yet loose, but that’s the goal. Ensure your shoulders are dropped away from your ears, and your arms are swinging freely by your side.

Mistake #6: Crazy arms. Just be careful those arms aren’t swinging excessively. They should move in a smooth, controlled motion.