Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Can't Say These Things Enough

Here are few things I find my self repeating over and over to people interested in running technique. I have to repeat them often because the popular media has, for the most part, mangled the discussion on running technique

Forefoot Landing
  1. The forefoot landing is not in and of itself "good technique". It is the natural result of good technique. A runner can land on his or her forefoot and still have bad technique, but he (or she) cannot have good technique if he is landing on his heels.
  2. If a runner is not naturally landing on his (or her) forefoot, and must "force" it to happen, then he is doing something wrong.
  3. Overemphasizing the forefoot landing will result in injury. The forefoot should not be pointed into the ground at a steep angle, the foot should be  almost flat when it lands. However the ball of the foot should always touch the ground first.
Stride Length
  1. A shorter stride length  is not in and of itself "good technique". Like the forefoot landing, it is the natural result of good technique.
  2. If a runner artificially change the length of his or her stride, he (or she) may still be running with bad technique, just with shorter strides.
Running Shoes
  1. You can't just change your shoes, or take them off, and expect that your technique will magically transform. Doing so, will only work for a very small number of people. Most people will need some coaching to improve their technique.
  2. You don't need modern running shoes to run. People have been running fine for 2 million years without them. The modern running shoe was invented in the 1970's. If we needed the modern running shoe to run, we would probably be extinct by now.
  3. Bad technique is largely the result of growing up in a shoe wearing and sedentary culture. Runners shouldn't expect to be able to suddenly compensate for a lifetime of bad habits.
Unfortunately the discussions, in the popular media, concerning running technique are not framed in the proper context. Now everyone is obsessing over forefoot/midfoot landing, shorter stride length, and finding the perfect shoe, but not understanding they should be addressing more fundamental issues first.


  1. Great advice, thanks for the reminders :)

    Kyle @ SkoraRunning.com

  2. As I learn the Pose technique and concentrate on my form as I run, I am recognizing the truth of your statements. Preach it!