Running is running - or is it?


Technique is everything in running – for everyone! Having good running technique will increase your enjoyment of running, it will improve your performance, it will improve your efficiency, and it will reduce the likelihood of injuries. If you are suffering, or recurrently suffer from shin splints, achilles tendon problems, plantar fasciitis, runners knee (or Iliotibial band syndrome), hip or low back pains and aches this article could be the first step to recovery.

Running can be roughly divided into two camps, jogging and running. Jogging involves slow pace, lazy leg and arm action, heavy heel strike and therefore tends to cause a lot of problems. True running, on the other hand, carries a higher pace, fluid leg and arm action, and the foot strike tends to be softer and located on the ball of the foot leading to higher efficiency and improved performance.

"One of the most common running errors is landing heel first (over striding), with your leg in front of you, which slows you down." This also leads to bouncing, that wastes energy and increases the risk of injuries. According to Running Coach Malcolm Balk (Daily Mail Health pages in April 2011) "Good runners spend less time on the ground than bad runners" which is associated with better performance and fewer injuries.

Fore-foot, or mid-foot running technique is indicated for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you will enjoy running more. Running on the ball of the foot is biomechanically more feasible, as the whole leg (foot, ankle, knee and hip) will act as a giant shock absorber. This will help prevent pain in the heels, knees, hips and low back, that may result from slamming your heels down on the ground with every step, as the resulting shock runs up to the pelvis and low back through a straight leg. Fore-foot running is also energy saving, as you maintain your forward momentum on each step, this will help you improve your performance and you will notice your lap times come tumbling down.

If you decide to start fore-foot running, please break into it gently. Do not do your normal distance on fore-foot only, but rather intersperse an increasing amount of short bursts of fore-foot running into your normal run. This type of running does use different muscles in different ways, which may lead to soreness after the run as you get started. After a few weeks you should be able to perform a fore-foot only running session without any discomfort.

Watch The video by Newton Running on youtube by clicking the link below. This explains the basic idea behind forefoot running. You do not need to buy the shoes straight away, your normal running shoes will do just fine, yet as it is time to upgrage the shoes it is a good idea to get a pair with less bulk under the heel. A lot of the manufacturers have minimalistic lighter ranges now, which have less 'drop' from heel to toe (less heel).

For those who are considering getting started with running, let me assure you - it does not have to be painful, laborious, boring, irritating or in any way negative at all. Sure, you will get sore from time to time (especially when doing longer runs) but if you pay attention to the right things from the start it will be a lot more enjoyable endeavour. Before heading out, have a read of the running for beginners article.

Running in Barefeet - you gotta be nuts!

After coming across the idea of barefoot running a while ago, I proceeded to read up any published material on the subject. Obviously there is a huge debate in the running community, whether you should be wearing shoes or not; however there seems to be very little in terms of genuinely objective advice available. From my own experience with barefoot running I can say that it is a completely different experience to running with conventional shoes, and does work wonders for your technique as it is impossible to hit the ground hard on the heel with no cushion under it.

Here is a link to a good research article, which goes to explore various aspects of running without shoes.


I completed a running challenge  in september/october 2011, and I am currently busy training and racing Triathlons - you can find my blog at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have questions about running technique, or are considering starting running please contact Mika at the clinic and book an appointment for a running gait assessment. Call 01932 - 429584 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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