Although frequently I tell runners not to sweat the small stuff, sometimes advising athletes about the small stuff can help them sweat less.
One often overlooked detail is head position.
When straining or tired, it's easy to tip your chin up or hunch your upper back. This creates stress and is tiring, and it reduces your efficiency. A head that doesn’t bob, swing back and forth, or tilt to the side is also a head that keeps the body parts below on track.
As you're running, make sure your head extends from your shoulders and neck in a straight line. Keep your eyes on a spot 15 to 20 meters ahead of you; make it a bit closer in when you're climbing a hill.
Reinforce your form with a relaxed neck, head, and jaw when you're fresh on a run so that you're familiar with this positioning when the going gets tough. Keeping your head neutral will help keep your arms swinging freely and your legs moving powerfully. You'll get to the finish line with a bit more energy to spare.
Coach Dena Evans leads the Silicon Valley-based Strava Track Club.