Running for Beginners: Learning How to Run the Right Way

In the past, there was consensus among people that everyone has a unique way of running and there is no right or wrong approach.   


Since running has been thought of as something intrinsic and unique to each individual, it has not been taught with detail, except for elite athletes.  We have been running incorrectly for so long that it’s not natural for us to run most efficiently. 


Some people even thought that an attempt to change our running form would injure us. 


As a result, more than half of all runners injure themselves every year. In this article, we help you learn the right way to run to maximize your benefits while minimizing the risk of injuries.

What Are the Benefits of Running?

Running the right way gives you one of the best all-encompassing exercises that increase your activity levels, mental awareness, and blood flow, and build cardiovascular & muscle strength throughout the body.


As an added bonus, running helps reduce the stress we have on our bodies.  


Stress can manifest itself in our bodies in the form of fatigue, and irritability which can also trigger harsh and negative emotional outbursts. 


When you start running on a regular basis you'll start feeling better, get yourself on a consistent sleep schedule, and burn calories.

Why Should You be Running?


Stress in our daily lives can come from long traffic commutes, feeling overwhelmed at school on the job, or from the myriad of other decisions we need to make daily. 


Running literally can give you the opportunity to get away from it all while giving you an all-encompassing exercise that elevates your mood, muscles, and overall well-being while strengthening your body.


If you need more reasons why you should be running, check out this great article on the additional benefits you can gain when you run.

Why is Running Important?


Stress Running is a cardiovascular exercise. 


It helps in supplying oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Running strengthens our bones and joints if done in the right manner. It helps to fight hypertension, high blood sugar levels, and high cholesterol.  Running is a full-body functional workout that adds strength to our muscles.  


 According to studies, regular running has the same effect as medication for relieving anxiety and depression. Running helps us in achieving a better, more muscular, and lean body which boosts our confidence, and help alleviate long-term effects of stress on the body including digestion problems, additional strain on the heart, and an increased risk of insomnia. 


Increased stress leads to the activation of your flight or flight hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol and when your body recognizes increased stress levels, these hormones are released into the bloodstream.


This directly can lead to an increased heart rate, and redirects cortisol in your system which over the long-term leads to memory and focus problems, increased weight gain or loss, anxiety, depression and an increased risk of heart disease and other associated ailments.

What are the most common errors in our running techniques?


While everyone is different, there are many common issues new runners can experience that limit their performance and lead to an increased risk of injury.

Poor Posture When You Run


Having poor posture when you run is responsible for most running injuries. 


Due to sitting most of the day, our spines are not as erect and straight as they used to be in our ancestors. 


This curve in our back due to our sedentary lifestyle has made us prone to injuries. 


Poor posture causes stiffness in hip flexors, hamstrings, spine, and pectorals.  Having the right stride keeps you pain-free and running more

Heel Striking Injuries


According to a Brazilian survey, 95% of runners are heel strikers. 


At every step, they tend to touch their heel first and land with a straight leg. It puts extra strain on our knee and other joints and causes discomfort which can lead to acute and chronic injuries that can limit your performance. 


Running the right way helps you hit your stride and stay there.

Body Asymmetry


Asymmetry in body parts: It is observed in a lot of runners that their right and left feet contact with the ground differently. Some people need appropriate padding and lift to ensure they're running evenly.


Also, some people don’t move their arms in balance with their legs. 


These problems might seem odd but they are commonplace. This asymmetry is most commonplace when runners are tired. 

Doing too much, too soon


Most beginners start running too much. Hence, they lose interest in it, get tired, or are in too much pain early on to continue.


Some want to run on top of their speed all the time. 


They need to keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day. 


We can’t push our limits all the time. 


As a beginner, you should try to progress gradually.

Running with the Wrong Gear


Even though jogging is an extremely low maintenance sport, the right gear can make all the difference. 


People often wear uncomfortable and less flexible shoes and clothing which can hinder their performance and leave them more prone to injuries. 


Having the right gear is crucial to being comfortable, safe, and injury-free when you run.

Not Getting Enough Sleep


Getting enough sleep is very important for your mental well-being and recovering from your last workout.


While experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep every night, constant distractions can keep you from getting the rest you need. 


Give your body the benefit of a good night’s sleep, and get your body on a consistent sleep schedule.

Running When You're in Pain


There's absolutely no reason to 'play through the pain'. 


Whether you've just started running or are an established runner, if you have an onset of pain in your feet or anywhere else, it's a sign that something's not right with your body. 


It's ok to take the day (or night off to recover and if the pain persists, get it checked out before running again.


Safety When Running at Night


Different work and life schedules mean running at times others wouldn't think is normal, but is perfect for you.


If you run at night or early in the morning when it's still dark you need to take additional precautions.


Running on well-lit roads, wearing reflective clothing, bringing a light, and personal protection to keep safe when you run at night.

Running the Right Way


If you want to increase your running performance and efficiency, you need to pay attention to your running form and make any necessary adjustments and improvements. 


A proper running gait/stride will help you to run longer distances at a greater intensity with less stress on your body and limit the risk of injury, pain, and discomfort. 


We've included suggestions for improving your running form to boost your performance and lower the risk of injury.


Lowering the Risk of Injury When You Run


We've included suggestions for improving your running form to boost your performance and lower the risk of injury.


      • Proper stretching of the neck, back, and legs before and after you start running not only helps tension build-up, but lessens the risk of pulling muscles which can set back your routine.
      • The way our foot contacts the ground is an essential part of our running stride. The majority of the elite runners land on their forefoot at every step. This is the best and most injury-free way to run. Some runners land their mid-foot which is also acceptable. But landing on the heel should be avoided at all costs. 
      • Your cadence or simply the number of steps per minute during running is the second biggest factor involved in running after the stride length. You should adjust them in running if you want to go a long way. The average number of steps in one minute should be 180. Your stride length should be medium to prevent over-reaching or numerous, short choppy steps. 
      • Instead of running with your body perpendicular to the ground (neutral lean positioning), you should bend slightly forward (positive lean) during the run. It’s commonly thought that a slight forward bend conforms with Newton’s laws of motion and helps us achieve more momentum.  Excessive forward lean on the other hand is responsible for shortening your stride length and can lead to a greater risk of injury to your muscles or losing your balance.
      • Maintaining a tall, erect spine and keeping your head in such a way that keeps your ears above your shoulder.
      • Bending your elbows at 90 degrees and moving them with every stride. Be in an upright position and don’t rotate your torso. 


Wearing Appropriate Running Shoes. 


To maximize performance and minimize potential injuries, you should wear light shoes whose sole is flat, thin, and flexible because it allows you to develop a precise interaction between your foot and the ground. Old shoes have less cushioning which may hurt your feet.



Overcoming Stress With Running


While occasional stress is more short-term, coinciding with direct stressors that need to be overcome on a case-by-case basis, chronic stress is constant or continuing stress that is left untreated.  Chronic stress that continues without intervention can affect the brain by altering your mood, attitude, and overall feeling of well-being and even alter its long-term functioning.  


Running can give your brain a break while you work out to focus on yourself, your health, and your lifestyle goals.  


Having a consistent routine with a proper technique will strengthen the mind and body while giving you a positive outlook on your fitness goals. 


Recognizing the stress you experience is a good first step, but a consistent effort to better yourself with better eating and fitness habits helps relieve the added burden on your body that stress can give you.  

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