How is Your Running Technique?
Proper Running Form Reduces Running Injuries

Running technique is easy to answer when you watch children playing. The child makes no real effort to running. They just run. One foot in front of the other and off they go. There is a proper running form to help prevent running knee pain.

Visitor's Corner

Have You Suffered Running Injuries? What happened? Tell us your story here.

Natural running or to run light is the ideal running technique. Your feet should hit the ground almost under your body. This allows you to land on the ball of your foot or land on the outside of the foot. Then you are rolling off the ball of the foot for takeoff.

Landing on your heels first is what I learned was the proper jogging technique. That was 34 years ago. This method requires a long stride. It puts strain on the shins and knees and can cause lower back pain. Moreover, and worst of all–it is exhausting.

As a marathon runner, I can tell you that landing on your heels after 20-plus miles feels unnatural. It also feels like it requires a whole heck of a lot more energy. After 20 miles, you really notice extra energy requirements. It can be a revelation to your running technique.

My last marathon proved this point to me. It had been a difficult long run. I was tired. I had trouble keeping my body upright while running.

Sidebar: Core exercises for maintaining or increasing core strength are necessary for exactly this reason. Core training helps you to hold the trunk of your body in an upright position on runs. This means your back and stomach muscles are strong enough and have enough endurance so that you do not end up all slouched over as you cross the finish line.

Back to my point, which was that this marathon had me shortening my stride and landing on the balls of my feet by the 20-mile mark. It felt natural. It also felt easier.

Now my personal experience proves to be the case as experts suggest a change in running technique to increase efficiency and reduce running jogging injuries*.

How to Start Running With Proper Technique

  1. Use a shorter stride so that you land your foot under your body.
  2. Land on the ball of your foot, or alternatively, the mid-foot when jogging.
  3. Landing on the heel of your foot means your stride is too long. Not a good thing. Shorten it.
  4. Eliminate any bounce to your run. It is unnecessary motion using up energy plus it also adds force to your landing.
  5. Use your arms to gain a forward motion while keeping them at a 90° angle. Use your arms to pull you forward.
  6. Eliminate unnecessary motion by not twisting the body side-to-side with each swing of the arm. Too often I see joggers twisting their body at the hips in unison with their arm motions. Not an efficient use of your energy and a potentially a cause of injury.
  7. Use a light step. Be graceful, glide. Think of yourself as a graceful princess and not a heavy-footed elephant stomping his way through the jungle.
best running technique

Note the above runner's efficient stride and fluid motion.

Notice this runners arms are lifted almost to shoulder height. With 1km to go, she may have been trying to pump herself to the finish. However, this excessive arm motion is inefficient and unnecessary work.

The best running technique, whether landing on your mid-foot or forefoot, is to use a light step. I should not be able to hear you coming up behind me. It is almost a gliding above the surface of the earth. That is why runners often comment that I came from nowhere to pass them in a 5k race. They did not hear me.

No pounding of your feet as you run. I am getting a picture of an elephant charging through the jungle tramping down anything that gets in his way.

It requires so much effort on your part to pound the ground. That extra force has to go somewhere. It just comes right back up your feet and ends up in your knees, back and hips. There is trouble brewing here.

Even heavier runners should make the conscious effort to jog light. Be light footed. Heavy runners can learn how to start jogging light. Running for weight loss will probably occur even if not your first intention. As you start to lose weight, you will be more apt to notice a heavy pounding action of your feet if present. Work to correct this with proper running technique.

Run proud. Run strong. Run upright.

References:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/health_and_fitness/4286146.stm

Glover, Bob and Shepherd, Jack. A Complete Fitness Guide for Men and Women on the Run, The Runner’s Handbook, Penguin Handbooks; Reprinted 1978. ISBN 0-14-046.325-9

Leave Running Technique and go to Benefits of Jogging

Home

^up to top