Simple Form Tweaks to Make Running Feel a Thousand Times Easier
Faster, Stronger, Smoother
The quickest way to run better and longer—without cranking up your training or mileage—is to iron out any kinks in your form. "If you consistently focus on making some very small changes each time you hit the pavement, you'll see major progress in your pace and endurance in just a few runs," says Chris Bennett, Global Head Coach of Nike+ Run Club. Follow his head-to-toe pointers to really fly.
Look Straight Ahead
Keeping your gaze forward (save for glances down at the terrain) will help you maintain good form and take in any information that can minimize your reaction time so you don't break cruising speed.
Make a Poker Face
A relaxed expression can loosen up your entire body, whereas scowling or gritting causes you to tense muscles. (Although RBF does have surprising benefits). Says Bennett: "If you stay relaxed, you can run fast."
Lead with Your Chin
Point your chin slightly ahead of your chest to set your upper body just right: not too far forward, which limits knee lift, or too far back, which breaks momentum.
Relax Your Shoulders
When your shoulders inch up toward your ears, quickly readjust by taking two deep breaths as you drop your arms along your sides to pull your shoulders down, giving them a wiggle to release any energy-sapping tension.
Work the Angles
Bend your arms 90 degrees and alternately drive your elbows straight back (hands almost reach hips) and pump them forward and up (hands in line with chest). "This can drive your knee lift and increase your turnover speed [or how fast your feet hit the ground]," Bennett says. "All of that means a faster pace for you."
Unclench Those Fists
Squeezing them for even just 10 seconds will eat up energy. (And, obv, fueling up before a run will help keep energy high too.)
Bring Up Your Knees
With each stride, aim to get that knee up to just below hip height. A lower knee lift shortens your stride, so it takes you longer—and requires more juice—to cover the same distance. (This is über important since running can take a huge toll on your legs).
Strike the Sweet Spot
Let your feet land right under your hips to help align your whole body so that your joints take less of a jolt. Try to land closer to the front third of your foot for max spring. (And follow these tips to prevent foot pain from running wrong.)