Muscle & Fitness Hers

How to Fix Your Running Stride On Different Terrain

Tips to help make your run faster, smoother, stronger, and more efficiently.

How to Fix Your Running Stride On Different Terrain

There’s no perfect way to run, but there are tweaks you can make to your form, especially on different types of terrain, says Jonathan Cane, president of City Coach Multisport, a coaching service in New York City. Use these tips to make your run faster, smoother, stronger, and more efficient.

If you’re running on: A flat road or path

  • Keep your elbows bent at about 90 degrees.
  • Focus your gaze several yards ahead of you, with your head neutral and/or chin slightly tucked.
  • Relax your shoulders, hands, and jaw, relieving tension in those areas.
  • Land gently with feet underneath hips (below your center of gravity).
  • Watch your stride rate. Count the number of foot strikes that you take in one minute: 180 is a good goal.

If you’re running on: Hills

When going uphill…

  • Lift your knees a little higher than normal.
  • Look up—to where you’re going—not down.
  • Imagine pulling yourself up a rope: Stand tall, with good posture, and use your arms to drive your stride.

When going downhill…

  • Lean into the hill.
  • Let gravity work for you; don’t put on the brakes.
  • Allow your foot strike to naturally shift to heel-toe while you cruise downhill.


If you’re running on: The treadmill

  • Relax your hands: Picture holding a potato chip between your thumb and forefinger in each hand—you want to stay loose enough to not crush it.
  • Take advantage of the gym mirrors and check what your form looks like while you run.
  • Use the front of the treadmill to gauge whether you’re overstriding. If you’re kicking it, you’re landing too far in front of your center of gravity and should readjust.


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