What are the best tips for perfecting your running form?

• Look ahead.
Your eyes should be focused on the ground about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. Don't stare at your feet. Not only is this proper running form, but it's also a safer way to run because you can see what's coming and avoid falling.

• Don’t stick your head forward.
This puts a lot of stress on the neck and shoulder muscles, which can lead to tension. To make sure you're not leaning forward with your head, hold it so that your ears are right over the middle of your shoulders. Imagine yourself as a puppet on a string as you run, with your entire body held long and straight.

• Keep your hands at waist level.
Try to keep your hands right about where they might lightly brush your hips. Some beginners tend to hold their hands way up by their chest, especially as they get tired.

• Relax your hands.
Avoid tightening your hands into fists by pretending you’re holding onto potato chips. If you're clenching your hands, the tension will move from there up your arms to your shoulders and neck…and your chips will get crushed.

• Check your posture.
Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level. Make sure you're not leaning forward or back at your waist. When you're tired, it's common to slump a little, leading to neck, shoulder, and lower-back pain.

• Relax your shoulders.
Rounding the shoulders too far forward tends to tighten the chest and restrict breathing. Try to squeeze your shoulder blades together on your back, as if they're elevator doors that you need to close. Keep them in that position and allow your shoulders to drop.

• Avoid side-to-side arm swinging.
If your arms cross over your chest, you're more likely to slouch, which means you're not breathing efficiently. If you notice this happening, allow your arms to drop by your sides and shake them out. Reposition them at a 90-degree angle with your shoulders back and relaxed.

• Don't bounce.
If your head and body are moving up and down too much, it wastes a lot of energy. To minimize bounce and save energy, run lightly and land softly on your feet. Try to keep your stride low to the ground and take short, light steps as if you're stepping on hot coals.”