Long Distance Running Technique – part 2

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The first post in this series instantly created some debate. Hopefully the second part will create some reader/follower interaction as well. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask a question if this topic catches your interest or curiosity!

Here’s more advice on long distance running technique from the book “Runner’s Worlds – The Runner’s body” and authors Jonathan Dugas and Ross Tucker’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Runners”:


“The arms are the jockey to the body and legs, which are the horse during running”. – Jonathan Dugas.

The faster and more explosive you run, the more critical arm movement becomes to counterbalance the torque and forces from the trunk and legs (i.e sprints). With this said, proper arm carrying and position is very important during long distance running as well.

– Remember to relax wrists, fingers and hand to avoid unnecessary tension. Tensed arms is often related to tension in the shoulders and neck region.

– Let your arms swing in a natural symbiosis with your legs.

– 80 – 100 degrees of elbow flexion is considered normal and most effective, although there’s been debate about the importance of elbow angle in the first place.

– Keeping a linear arm swing in line with the running direction to promote forward locomotion and avoid energy leaks is recommended by most running coaches.


– Your hips determines where your center of mass is and to be able to control that is crucial when it comes to optimal running technique.

– Avoid your foot to land well infront of your hip since that will make your body decelerate, lose momentum and your muscles to work harder by having to pull your body forward and through the next stride.

– Lean slightly forward from the ankles, through the hips, leading with the chest to create a slight forward fall. Maintain a tall, upright, posture (open chest, shoulders back). A common mistake here is to lean forward at the shoulders rather than lower body/hips as this actually pushes the hip/COM backward and can also limit lunge volume/oxygen intake.

Finally, the biomechanical principles of hip position during running may not be simple to follow at first. It requires endurance and strength in core muscles to keep the body and hip in a slight forward leaning position and like most other skills it takes time and practice for the neuromuscular system to learn the new paths and movements.

In the next blog post I will reveal more of Dugas’ and Tucker’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Runners”…Stay posted!

/Henrik Olofsson
Movement Specialist

Fitcorp Asia