Main: 815.398.9491 | Ortho Express: 779 .771.7000

5 Keys of Proper Running Form

Information provided on the blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or offer treatment plans.

Hold on a second. Isn’t running just grabbing a pair of shoes and putting one foot in front of the other?

If you’ve thought this, you’re not alone, and technically, yes. All you need to do to run is–well–run, but to do it well and to do it safely means that runners need to focus on proper form.

Download the proper running form PDF.


Your chest and head should be upright and looking forward, chest out shoulders gently squeezed together. (“Nose over your toes”) You should always be looking approximately 30 feet in front of where you are running.


Your arms should be loose and move with each opposite leg. Your hands should be loosely cupped. You should not make a fist when you are running. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle, and your arms should swing from nipple line to nipple line without crossing over the center of your body.


Your pelvis should be directly underneath you. Your hips should not tilt forwards. Keep your butt muscles tight to keep your pelvis level (“Don’t spill the bowl of marbles” or “run like your holding your pee in”)


Your body should not be more than 8cm off the ground when you are running. If you strike with your heel first, your stride will be longer than if you strike with your toes or foot flat. Your knees should be bent approximately 30 degrees at contact with the surface. You should feel like you are slightly falling forward. Your legs should not cross each other when you run.


Your feet should strike directly under your Center of Gravity. This is most efficient when the ball of the foot strikes first. Your foot should pronate to about 5 degrees during running but not more. Proper stability footwear is needed for pronation > 5 degrees.

RunRight is a service for aspiring runners and seasoned athletes alike. Check out our available services to make sure you stay healthy and strong on your running journeys.

Call 779-774-1293 or email to schedule a free injury screen.

Would you like more information?

Start your journey toward a healthier you right now.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Jon Gallas, DPT

Jon Gallas is a doctor of physical therapy for OrthoIllinois. He's also an avid runner and biker, who likes to work with endurance athletes to stay healthy and perform better.

© OrthoIllinois, formerly known as Rockford Orthopedic Associates 2018