Some runners argue they don’t need to work on form. They have all kinds of reasons: I’m not serious enough to need to learn; nobody taught me how to run in the first place; I’ve been running fine for years; my body runs as it should. I understand. But why not challenge yourself; see how good it can feel to reinvent your run form. Also, if you’ve been suffering from aches and pains and even injuries associated with your running, there’s a reason, and one of the root causes is likely poor form.
Our bodies are designed to move in a certain way, common to all of us, and because of this, I fundamentally believe there is a single “best” form to run. Yes, some may have more innate ability to do so than others (just like in other sports). But with the proper instruction in form, you can learn to run to the best of your ability, with the greatest efficiency.
Not to be cute, but I describe the ideal of running form as “performance “ because “form” is at the heart of the word. Without form, there’s no performance. Everything in proper form begins with the foot, specifically the forefoot. Landing there, as you see in this video, is the first line of stability in your stride. The toes, especially, the big toe, engage the ground. The arch then fires, and you are creating a stable base that brings the knees and hips into alignment. By landing on the forefoot, your ankle, which should not extend past the knee, provides some shock absorption as your heel follows down. Striking with the forefoot also helps prevent you from overstriding (though it’s no guarantee) and allows for a quicker cadence.
The right shoes are critical to developing proper forefoot strike. Shoes with a built up heel and thick outsole keep the heel and calves from engaging fully. This stops your calves from firing well, causing you to lose power and elasticity, throwing off your muscle equilibrium. Once you switch to a flexible, more natural shoe, you’ll really feel those calves working, as they should.
Foot Strike Technique and Awareness
These drills are critical for you to understand proper form and to experience how good form should “feel”. They also serve to help you practice and reemphasize good form, creating the right muscle memory. As you progress, they can be performed as a warm up before a run—and even during runs to get the right feel back.