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Read our latest blog: "Changing your running technique"

Technique

Running technique can mean the difference between you running well, at a good pace and without injury, to you not achieving any of these aspects. It is often thought that you can just get out and run however we are seeing more and more injuries now due to ineffective running styles.

Running is a skill that requires practice like every other sport or form of exercise. We often refer to good posture when running but technique is also important. Technique involves good posture but more importantly how you strike the ground will affect your overall running technique.

There has been much discussion over the years as to how we should run and what good technique involves. Without going into complicated biomechanical explanations, here are the primary conclusions.

Heel-striking

The impact of heel striking sends more impact up through the heel into your glutes, hips and back. If you heel strike you are almost braking as the body impacts the ground and you have to bring your body through into a forward position. According to research it results in about 1.5 to as much as 3 times your body weight (depending on your speed) travelling through your body. To then have your body propulse forward into a running motion, it requires extra effort and energy. Heel strikers typically do not have good leg lift and cannot “pull” away from the ground.

Mid-sole striking

Mid-sole striking has greater impact on the Achilles tendon and calves however there is less impact going up through the body than if you strike the ground with your heels. If you are landing on your mid-sole then you are already in a forward leading position ready to move forward easily into a run. There is less braking force and mid-sole strikers have the ability to generally “pull” away from the ground and use their hamstrings to build power to move forward. Their leg extension is generally better as well.

Much of what determines the way you strike the ground is your biomechanics which are complex. If you took off your shoes and ran barefoot you would most likely strike with your mid-sole. Much of our running is also affected by the shoes we wear in this era of cushioned shoes.

Can you change your running technique and style? Yes, you can however it may take up to 12 months to do so. It requires slow and steady changes to ensure that you don’t injure yourself by trying to do so too quickly.