How To Run, Running Techniques and Runners Gait

How To Run

In the times long, long ago, before running became a sport and recreational pastime our ancestors got spooked and ran in fear from dinosaurs and saber tooth tigers to save themselves from immediate disembowelment. Their instant fear pushed adrenaline into overdrive and they scarpered away as fast as their hairy legs could carry them. They were not concerned with the technique of how they ran, just that they eluded their predator.

Life has changed, for the better I hope, in that we can now run for pleasure and sport. Our lives are generally longer than our hairy, hunched predecessors and so running with correct technique is more important to us for injury free longevity. More importantly we aren’t pursued by dripping, halitosis fangs trying to devour us these days. Well, not in Washington State; let me rethink that; there are Grizzly bears here. Yikes!!! Ok, so nothing has really changed since pre-history, just run like crazy and forget the technique if your life depends on it.  But, if you’re interested in Running Technique read on…

Running Techniques

Basically, whatever works for you is OK, so long as you don’t injure yourself or create compensatory patterns in other areas of your body. Be light on your feet; no thudding or landing flat footed. Running is different from walking because it is more dynamic. Body positioning and foot landing play a major role.

When walking we land on our heels, transfer weight to the lateral (outside) edge of our foot as we transition through the stride and onto the ball of our foot ready to push off using the big and second toes.

When running poorly, every time our heel hits the ground it slows us down and sends shock loads up our legs to be absorbed by our knees and/or hip joints stressing our leg muscles.

When running with correct technique, the body position leans very slightly forward from the ankles, not the hips. As our foot strikes the ground its contact point is mid-foot preferably with a normal arch, heel barely touching the ground. In other words our stride is not so long as to force a landing on our heel.

The spring from our arches works in conjunction with the push off through our big and second toes to propel us forward. As the foot comes forward, remembering we are powering ahead at the same instant, we land it under of our leading hip.

A longish stride is still possible by good hip, gluteus extension with raised heel “butt kick” and springy, forward propulsion. See the YouTube videos below.

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Dynamic Postural Control

The foot ankle complex controls potential conditions for compensatory patterns throughout our body. We do not want compensatory patterns as they are undesirable and lead to excess muscle fatigue, hyper-tonicity, bursitis, achy sore or painful joints and complete breakdown such as osteoarthritic joints, muscle rips and tears, tendon pulls, ligament damage to name just a few.

At all points of walking, jogging and running the center-line of the patella (knee cap) should be in alignment with the gap between your big and second toe. Your toes should be pointing forwards predominantly with no more than a 5 to 10 degree outward turn. Definitely not “duck footed” as this exacerbates fallen arches and pronation. “Pigeon toed” is not ideal either and exacerbates supination. In the correct alignment of knee/toe, the ankle joint and knee hinges are working in as near perfect alignment as they can and joint breakdown will be minimal. Of course, other things can negatively affect joints and muscles such as deficiencies in nutrition, vitamins, minerals and performance enhancers. Please review those web pages on this site also.

Gait Analysis for Runners.

There are plenty of websites and specialists available, or to save time please view the embedded YouTube videos below.

 

A New and Different Running Technique.

The Pose Method®  by Nicholas Romanov, Ph.D

The method is fully described at the above link but I’ll comment that it requires the individual to have strong ankles and calf muscles for best effects. There are Pose Method® training videos, certified trainers and schools available. I have taken classes, along with my wife, to run aka The Pose Method® in Austin, TX and was able to do so fairly quickly, but overtime I have reverted to my natural style for comfort. My wife still uses The Pose Method® technique.

Whilst training myself with calf and ankle strengthening techniques per the videos, I pulled one of my Achilles (Calcaneal) tendons. This should not detract from this style of running as it should be remembered that I have weak ankles per the “About iRunningTips and Martin” page. The instructor had completed a marathon the day before training us into The Pose Method®. The instructor ran the entire 26.2 miles using The Pose Method® and had no soreness of leg muscles or ankle and knee joints and was able to run with us the day after the event fit and fresh.

End Note.

For additional information regarding running technique and tips please view the page setup for Footwear Stability Enhancement and Performance on this website. This will also include barefoot running and minimalistic “five fingered” toe shoes.

Happy Trails.