What Should Be Your Head Position While Running?

by James

head position while running

What should be your head position while running?

Should you be looking down at the ground, straight ahead, or slightly up?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi James,
Good question. Not something we normally pay much attention to.

Good running technique is easier than you might think. Let's cover:

1. Best head position
2. Other upper body considerations for good running technique

Best Head Position

head position while running
The short answer is: you should be facing straight ahead.

It is part of a good running technique. A good running posture.

Your posture should be straight.
Good straight, upright running will do a number of things for you:

  • Running becomes easier

  • Increasing speed becomes easier

  • Breathing becomes easier

  • Think about the alternatives.

    Just hang your head forward a bit. Almost inevitably your shoulders slump. This is not an optimal position for breathing.

    Now move your head back a bit, slighly looking upward, then imagining trying to run like that; it more or less feels like you are pulling back.

    No, keep that head nice and straight.

    Other Upper Body Considerations for Good Running Technique

    Let's just quickly cover off on some other elements of good running technique.

    As I said before, good running technique is not too hard. Let's simply focus on the upper body. We covered the head. Along with that run with a nice straight back.

    Here's a cue for you: Run with Pride. When you think about that, what kind of image does that provide you?

    head position while running
    I see a runner with a nice straight back, slightly puffed out chest, head nice and straight and a smile on their face. All of that (even the smile on the face) supports better running.

    Run with Pride is important. Now let's move on to the arms. Possibly even more important.

    What should you do with your arms?
    Imagine there is a vertical line running from your head to your toes, cutting your body in two equal halves.

    When you swing your arms, you do not want your arms to cross that line in the middle. You want your arms to swing nice and straight from front to back.

    When you do that, your lower body follows. Your hips will rotate less, helping your forward movement.

    You do not want your arms to cross the middle.

    Again, use a cue to remind yourself. Something like Straight arms - front to back.

    These simple tips will go a long way to having decent running technique.

    So, when you want to improve your running technique, simply think Run with Pride and Straight Arms - front to back and you'll get a lot of things right.

    As a last tip for better running technique: ask a friend or family member to make a video of you with their phone. Get a video running towards them and get one when you are running past them. Study the videos, look at your upper body and consider what improvements you need to make.

    James, hope this helps you become a better runner.
    Good luck.
    Kind regards,

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