The Five Most Common Running Form Mistakes

4. Unrelaxed Upper Body

One of the most difficult things to teach a runner, beginner or experienced, is how to run fast AND relaxed. A good way to do this is by using the example of a world-class sprinter. If you slow the footage down, you will see how relaxed his or her jaw is, how effortlessly their knees drive up toward and through the hips, and how the shoulders are relaxed and hanging away from the ears.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your upper body is relaxed and you are carrying your arms properly.

* Keep the angle of your elbows at 90 degrees, and be sure not to release that angle in the back swing, as it will only waste precious energy.

* Raise your shoulders to your ears at each mile marker during a race, and then drop them back down into their ideal, relaxed position.

* Perform the “Hands on Head” drill. Start by interlocking your hands on your head. Focus on keeping your core solid and straight while keeping the hips and shoulders level and relaxed. Start jogging. This drill will help you to eliminate any left to right movement through the hips and help eliminate a criss-crossing, side-to-side arm carriage.

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