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Running Technique


Is there a real Technique to follow or more a guideline!

Athletes always ask me what is the best running technique. I don’t believe in a universal running technique, but more in adapting the run to each individual. I always follow some basic guideline:


Many people do not know what they should do with their arms and hands when running. Your arms and shoulders will be tight from the swim and bike ride by the time you reach the running portion of the race. Try to focus on swinging your arms forward, but keep moving in your lower arms to keep your muscles loose.

Your elbows should be bent about 90 to 110 degrees and keep your hands loosely cupped. Don’t clench your thumb in your hand, but rather place it on top of your index finger. Your arm movement should be rhythmic and easy. Your hands should stop at the midline of your torso.

When running, you want to focus your eyes on a spot 40-50 meters in front of you and glance up occasionally to see how the path will change. You do not want to do this too often, however, because you may shift your pelvis and hips and land harder on your heels as a result. Focusing on a spot in front of you will help to keep your head straight. You want to make sure you have good posture during the run and you can check this by looking at your shadow. A five percent lean forward is ideal. You don’t want to arch your back or bend over to your stomach.

Some people have suggested that your foot should be under the centre of gravity of your body when it strikes the ground. A line from your head through your hips should end up at your foot.

Some people also say to run on the ball of your foot, others say contact the ground with the heel. Studies have shown that good long distance runners usually contact with the midfoot. Slower runners contact between the midfoot and the heel, faster runners a bit further forward.

Only sprinters or short to middle distance runners should contact the ground with their forefoot or the ball of the foot. While there may be exceptions to the rule, this is a good way for most beginning and intermediate runners to start out. It allows for better shock absorption, less stress on the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, and better rolling forward onto the next stride.

Stride Length

One of the biggest problems of form in long distance running is overstriding and can lead to injury.


While some like to tell you how to count your breathing in seconds both in and out, we will just tell you to keep breathing, deep and regular. In most cases your breathing will take care of itself, as you run faster, you’ll breathe faster.


• Start easy: Take shorter-than-normal steps to start the run, so your legs can get used to the new motion.
• Check out: Pace lagging? Try “checking out” — pick a point up the road and increase your pace until you reach it. Your pace may fall off slightly once you get to that point, but you’ll still be going faster than you were original.
• De-stress your shoulders: As you tire, you tend to tense your shoulders, which saps even more energy. Relax your shoulders by rolling them back and dropping them.
• Run tired: In training, do some bike-run or even swim-run workouts to get used to running on tired legs.

Sebastien Locteau Msc Sport Medicine
Athens 2004 Olympic Coach
Sports Consultant for Runireland.com