Running Guide: Dos And Don'ts

Run more miles with less effort (yes, you can do it!)
Running is a great way to stay in shape -- it burns more calories in less time than by doing just about any other activity. And more importantly, it shouldn't hurt: If you're huffing, puffing or seriously aching, it's because of the way you run.

Which is why your form and posture is so crucial when it comes to running. "A good way to correct problems is to change posture, foot or leg placement, etc., so that running is easier and there is no tightness or pain," says Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and co-author of Women's Complete Guide To Running.

If jogging feels more like punishment than cardio workout, check out our running checklist of dos and don'ts (plus our favorite playlist of heart-pumping music!) to help you log on more miles with less effort.

Perfect your posture

  • Maintain a straight posture. Keep your head upright and look ahead, with yuor shoulders, hips and ankles aligned and your abs tight.
  • Avoid tilting your pelvis and butt back when running. This produces a slower pace and requires extra effort. "Many runners tend to hit harder on their heels when their hips are shifted back. The most common symptom is sore hips after a run," says Galloway.
  • Your breathing also improves when you straighten up, so your lungs can receive adequate air.

Run efficiently

  • Take short steps and avoid a long stride. To run smoothly and reduce the chance of injury, maintain a shuffle-like motion (feet close to the ground), Galloway advises.
  • Land with a flat foot when running, rather than rolling heel to toe. This mid-foot strike helps keep your lower legs relaxed and injury-free.
  • Don't bob up and down or push off too hard. You'll waste extra effort lifting your body off the ground.
  • Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and swing them back with each step.
  • Try to breathe naturally and evenly. Inhale through your nose, and empty your lungs as you exhale through your lips.

Move to the music

Amp up your workout with a playlist of groovy, energetic hits. Here's a list of our favs to move to:

Please Don't Stop the Music -- Rihanna
Let's Get it Started -- Black Eyed Peas
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) -- C + C Music Factory
Sexy Back -- Justin Timberlake
Boom Boom Pow -- Black Eyed Peas
Crazy in Love -- Beyonce

Know the signs of injury

If you're new to running, pay extra attention to how your body is feeling. If you experience any of the signs below, you should stop your workout immediately and take 2-3 rest days, says Galloway.

  • Inflammation. Any type of swelling
  • Loss of function. For example, the knee doesn't work correctly
  • Pain that doesn't go away when you walk for a few minutes

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