I have been running for a couple months now with emphasis on the form outlined in The Cool Impossible book. I had a few questions about running form that I hope maybe more experienced runners can help me with:

1) My first question concerns the foot strike. While forefoot running is it better to land with the big toe (first toe) first or the fifth toe (pinky toe)? After watching video I realized I currently land with my outer toes (fourth and fifth toe) first and then my first toe last. I have tried to land the other way, but it is very difficult.

2) While running with friends, a few have remarked that I have an unusual running style, as if I am running on a tight rope. After reading the book, there was never a picture of what proper running form looked like from the front. Is it better to widen your stride? More specifically, should the foot landing in the progression of running be directly under the hip/shoulder or closer too your center of gravity?

3) The arm swing has caused some concerns for me. I have my arms consistently bent at a 90 degree angle, but when you swing your arms, should you swing forward (as if punching someone in the gut - sorry bad analogy but all I could think of to relate it to) or swing forward and up? I realize this may depend on speed, but as I try to transition running form I have in keeping things at 90 degrees with as much emphasis on swinging forward (not so much upward) as possible.

4) Possibly a dumb question. How do you run downhill? I have encountered a variety of declines and have tried to maintain form throughout but I have struggled with body position. Is it better to lean forward (depending on the decline) so that the body is aligned over your hips?

5) How do you run uphill? As with my previous question I find myself leaning too far forward sometimes (depending on the incline). Is it better to center yourself over the hips (lean farther back)? The book never gives an explanation of how to run uphill or downhill and from the cover it looks like Eric is leaning very far forward, but maybe this doesn't matter. 

Anyways, I would appreciate any help with some of these running form questions. Thanks again.


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Hi Kevin - I would revisit the Performance Running chapter, as this will address a lot of your questions on downhill/uphill running, as nothing should change and there are many drills there to help with leading with your hips and not leaning.  So again, check it out again, as it is always good to go back a reread several times with something focused in your search.

Footstrike - as mentioned in the book, you want to land centered on your forefoot, then allow the rest of the foot to land.  If you are landing more on the outside and crossing over in your stride, you could possibly be over striding and reaching out too far.  

What have thou experienced when doing the running in place drills or the skipping for distance drill?

Arm Swing - as mentioned in the book, you want to drive your elbows back and not have an excessive arm swing forward, in front of you.

Hope this helps - E


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