Good Running Form and Technique

In BOISE RunWalk, we believe that the human body is capable of running long and short distances in a very natural and biomechanically sound fashion. We believe the human body was designed by God before the fall perfectly for running. A big reason humans experience injury when running is that we’ve lost the natural balance of exercise and rest. We’ve lost strength, core stability, and correct posture by sitting at a desk for eight hours a day on our job, and becoming couch potatoes when we’re at home. Then, when we decide to take back our life and start running like we once did, we go too fast, too soon, and experience one or more of the top-five running injuries. Making matters worse, running-shoe manufacturers build extra cushioning into the heels of their shoes to help cushion our heel-strikes which gets us used to our heels being higher than our forefoot. Once we purchase a shoe with less ramp than the 12 mm that used to be the industry standard, but is no longer, it challenges our calves and Achilles tendons. They also add stability and motion-control features into the shoes to stabilize and reduce motion of the foot. Each of these shoe features is designed to help compensate for us being out of shape and our foolishly attempting to run like Olympic Marathon 2-Time Medalist Frank Shorter without being ready to do so.

In BOISE RunWalk, we also believe that Dr. Romanov’s video (see below), book, and training method are one of the best sources for learning how to run naturally and reducing the risk of injury. We suggest you watch the running form of most any of the long-distance U.S. Olympic marathoners like Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit, or Meb Keflegizhi. Across the board they have largely the same excellent running form, and this source talks about the basics of this form. To reduce your risk of injury off the couch, we recommend you focus on building core and hip strength, balance, and stability through strength and cross-training, and you can do this training as you begin a structured training program with BOISE RunWalk.

Change of Support

Good running technique involves a proper change of support from one leg to another, and this is dependent on how your foot strikes the ground. A mid-foot strike is ideal, but is not always achievable because of a person’s possible skeletal anomalies, fitness, focus, and fatigue. A forefoot-strike is acceptable and advised generally in lieu of a mid-foot strike and in contrast to a heel-strike.

A Basic Motion

Wheels roll along the ground with a consistent center of gravity directly above the point of contact with the ground and without up/down fluctuation. The movement of a wheel and the movement of your body along the ground while running should be in the same horizontal plane with your center of gravity directly above your feet and ankles. Mid-foot striking will minimize up and down bobbing of your head. As you run and look to the horizon, you can see and work to minimize the bobbing of your head by altering your turnover to the U.S. Olympic Training Facility Distance-Running Coaches recommended three-steps-per-second for all runners regardless of fitness, height, weight, experience, body-type, etc. This is initiated by altering the length of your arm swing to achieve three swings per second.

In Summary

Heel or forefoot-striking will typically manifest as too much bouncing. A “heel-to-toe transition” is still applicable for most runners as this is how the foot is designed to work as long as it doesn’t involve heavy heel-striking. With practice achieving three-steps-per-second, you won’t need to focus on landing mid-foot. A slight bend in the support leg as your body passes over it is essential.

The Running Pose Video – the Pose Method of Running
by Nicholas Romanov, Ph.D.

The Pose Method is adopted by USA Triathlon, and hundreds of thousands of successful runners and triathletes. This technique is designed to help you minimize injury risks while increasing your efficiency and fully utilizing the laws of physics (specifically, gravity). You will find additional information and can purchase the excellent book and DVD at http://posetech.com. In the introductory videos the author and two-time Russian Olympic coach, Nicholas Romanov, Ph.D. and some of his certified instructors discuss and demonstrate the change of support, and the basic elements (pose, fall, and pull). His full program is a 3-month series of instruction on The Pose running method, specific drills, and mastery.