Running Form

  • Running Form Analysis

    Screenshot 2016-07-28 12.44.40

    Recently I provided video of myself running to Run Smart Online for an analysis of my technique.

    While the below thoughts and considerations are based on my own movements and weaknesses, there is much that you can learn about running form by watching the videos. It's likely you'll learn something new that you can apply to yourself!  Read More

  • Inflexibility & Running Economy

    Reduced flexibility may mean greater running economy.

    Being flexible get all the glory.

    Yet, is there such a thing as too much flexibility?

    Read More
  • Your Changing Footstrike

    How your footsrike changes during a run

    People typically place themselves in to one type of movement group and assume they're always that way.

    However research shows that not to be the case.

    Read More
  • Forget heel vs midfoot striking

    Running form is a very important topic that many runners fail to address.

    A new swimmer or tennis player begins working on their form early on, yet this is something many new and seasoned runners fail to consider.

    While there are so many areas of running form that we can talk about, they may all come down to basically the same root issue - low running cadence.

    Running cadence is how many times per minute your foot strikes the ground. A low cadence (under 170) is very often connected to overstriding, or landing with a breaking action in front of your body.

    A good rule of thumb is at least 180 steps per minute. It's easy to count on one leg and aim for at least 90 steps.

    Arm position is also related to how quick you step. Your arms move with your legs. Keeping your arms up and using a short choppy arm swing will allow your legs to move at a good clip.

    Landing with the heel first vs landing with your forefoot first is a hot debate among runners these days. Unfortunately, it's the wrong issue!

    Instead of what part of the foot touches the ground first, the real importance is where in relation to your body your foot is making contact with the ground first. There is a striking difference between a straight legged landing with a very dorsiflexed ankle and breaking motion vs a "glancing" heel strike with an almost flat foot under your center of gravity.

    And let us mention pronation as well! This is a natural and necessary movement of the foot, needed for shock absorption and elastic recoil. Your arch is designed to flatten and reform with each step. All of these movements are constantly changing. Your degree of pronation fluctuates based on different shoes, speeds, terrains, and even which side of the road you are running on!

    The take-away: Count your steps once in a while during a run, how many did you get in 60 seconds? If you're stepping too slowly, chances are you may be overstriding (or bouncing up and down excessively).

    Work on slowly building up your cadence and landing with a more flat footed under your center of mass, for improving running form!

    You might also like: Transitioning to Real Running / Does Pronation Matter? / Tenets of Low Profile Running Shoes

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  • Why & How Cadence is Important

    Lets talk about cadence for a moment.

    This is the term for how many steps you take per minute.

    At RunReal.com, we recommend 180 steps per minute as a benchmark.

    It's easy to determine your current stride rate by counting how many times your right leg touches the ground, in one minute. It is important to know that stride rate will depend on a large variety of factors, mainly terrain and speed.

    Benefits of a higher cadence

    The main benefit of a higher cadence is that it prevents overstriding, or making initial ground contact well in front of your center of gravity. Overstriding is often done with a very dorsi flexed ankle and a straightened leg.

    Through this decrease in overstriding, a higher cadence reduces energy absorbed by the knee and hip. Step length, up and down body movement, braking, and peak knee flexion angle all decreased with an increased step rate.

    How to improve

    The first step is to determine what your cadence actually is. Once in a while during a training run, count how many times your right foot hits the ground in a minute, and double that. If you do find your cadence is a bit low, gradual changes over a longer period of time are the best. Try experimenting and find out what a cadence of only 5-10 more steps per minute feels like, and practice this. Over time, you'll end up doing it automatically.

    There are also tools that can be used, such as smart phone applications that match music beat to cadence. A couple neat ones are JogTunes and Cruise Control. A good old fashioned metronome can also be set at a cadence and followed along with.

    Why is this important

    Increasing your cadence is possibly the easiest way to instantly speed up. This can be during a tempo or long run when you are feeling fatigued or during the final quarter mile of a 5k. Instead of thinking "speed up", just think about increasing your cadence. Haile Gebrselassie has been seen increasing his cadence to as high as 240 steps per minute at the end of a 10k!

    And like we mentioned above, a higher cadence is a great way to decrease overstriding and the negative consequences of this. On flat ground at your habitual speed, stepping less than 160 times per minute means you are probably overstriding.

    While it will always come down to the individual, cadence is simply another weapon in your arsenal to become a faster and healthier runner!

    Kyle Kranz

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  • Does Pronation Matter?

    You know the drill.

    The shoe salesman watches how you stand, barefoot or in shoes.

    Next you walk back and forth, jog in place, maybe on a treadmill. Barefoot and maybe in your current shoes. Read More

  • The specifics of "Run Real"

    The Specifics of "run real"

    I recently received the Spring/Summer 2013 line of SKORA running shoes, and was very excited to see that my favorite brand had taken their already outstanding models one step further.

    Because of the rejuvenation I felt in these updated shoes, I was inspired to employ their brand motto of "Run Real" to training applications that every runner can follow.

    Read below to see if you Run Real, and I hope you find these tips valuable to your upcoming spring and summer races! Read More

  • 5 Tenets of Minimalist Footwear

    5 Tenets of Natural Footwear

    While the hard science indicating minimalist or natural running footwear prevents injuries or improves biomechanics may be lacking, my experience as an athlete and coach clearly shows otherwise. Read More

  • Confessions of an overpronator

    Confessions of an Over-Pronator

    For years I was told something was wrong with me.

    Not quite right.

    Not ideal.

    I visited experts and they made recommendations. I would walk around their office, barefoot, and they would suggest different types of support and fixes. Maybe go into a running store and jump on a treadmill to be video recorded. They would play it back to me in slow motion. Zoom in on my lower legs and show me my faults. Read More

  • Transitioning to ‘Real Running’

    Transitioning to minimal shoes.

    In the past few years, there has been a paradigm shift in the design of running shoes to more minimal cushioning, lower heel heights, and greater flexibility to allow the foot to move in a more natural manner.

    Most major name brands in the industry seemingly halted all other pursuits once this trend went mainstream to create a minimal line of footwear to accommodate this change of philosophy.

    As a competitive runner who had often trained in racing flats before this trend came about, I was pleased to see whole lines of minimalist shoes on the market to choose from by early 2010. However, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think “Do these companies really believe in the merits of minimal footwear, or are they just trying to match their competition?Read More

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