8 Coaching Points for Proper Running Mechanics

1. Focus – The eyes/head should be focused straight ahead in what is called a “conversational plane.” Focus on someone straight in front of you or a target across the finish line.

2. Arch – There should be a slight arch in both the upper and lower back. Maintains an erect torso and keeps the hips in proper anatomical position.

Points 3-5 emphasize the arms due to the fact that “the legs move with the arms and no arm movement = slow running speed. As runners become tired, they typically stop pumping their arms. This is what causes them to slow down. Arms should move like a locomotive.”

3. Fix – The elbows should be locked at 90 degrees. (no less than 60 – no more 140)

4. Rotate – The arm should rotate at the shoulder while maintaining the fixed elbow. The shoulder rotation will take the hand from the chest level through the hip pocket.

5. Squeeze – To eliminate sideward rotational forces that make the body inefficient the elbow should be kept tight to the body. This occurs during shoulder rotation.

Points 6-8 emphasize the knee punch, foot plant and leg drive.

6. Punch – Lead leg is driven up and out. Do not just lift upward but drive the lead leg out and up! Punch toward the finish line.

7. Plant – “Speed comes from being on one’s toes.” The down leg snaps back underneath the hips. The foot should hit naturally on the ball and toes.

8. Extend – The down leg must be locked out in full extension. This maximizes the stride in terms of power production.