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How to find your best running form

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What’s your ideal running form

with Margot Manning, intraining podiatrist, coach and runner

Running form is different for each runner.   There are three key elements that you can focus on to encourage better motor patterning and muscle
recruitment, to improve your running efficiency, reduce the risk of fatigue and overuse injuries.   

The three key elements that running form is based around are:

          1. Body position/posture
          2. Foot strike position
          3. Cadence

They are closely linked and influence one another. For example, a good body position enables you to develop a better foot strike position leading to a more efficient leg cadence. Gaining a better sense of what this feels like and how you can make changes (if you need to) is what we cover in our intraining Running Form Workshops.

Running posture

Running posture refers to your body lean, your hip position, and your arm mechanics.  Each of those elements can affect your running  momentum.  Knowing how to adjust these is important for when you’re tired or when you have different terrain to run over. 

Running drills break down your running movement allowing you to focus on specific simple muscle activation for each element.  You develop a spatial awareness or sense of body movement from your limbs and torso while running.  
Along with position, you improve your coordination, strength and power. Over time, through learning and practising
specific drills, you will gain a much better sense of your own running technique and any form faults that may develop as you fatigue.

Foot strike

Your optimum foot strike position is where your foot lands on the ground in relation to your body’s centre of mass (COM). This should by under your body, regardless of whether you land on your heel, midfoot or forefoot.  

Overstriding is a common form fault and mistake runners make.  It increases the force up your leg leading to injury,   and will slow you down.  
Your footstrike positions will also change as your speed changes.  Being able to make those adjustments mid run is a great skill to develop as a runner.  


Cadence is your stride frequency, or leg turn over.  This is different for everyone and is strongly determined by the length of your legs.  Essentially, your cadence should remain relatively constant, regardless of what pace you’re running. This keeps your momentum.  To maintain your cadence, you need to be able to alter your stride length, and maintain good posture.  
A common fault among runners is to maintain stride
length, and decrease (slow down) cadence as they fatigue. This increases the likelihood of sitting, overstriding and getting slower faster.   

Speed and fitness

Your running form is much better when running fast compared to running slowly.
Running slower increases ground reaction time and decreases your ability to generate power from tension within the tendons (e.g. Achilles).

Being ‘run fit’ also makes a difference to your ability to hold form.  The more consistent you are with your running, the stronger you become and more able to maintain the form you need.   When returning to running or starting out, doing shorter faster sessions with more recovery not only gets you fitter faster, it enables you to develop better form and movement patterns.  .  

Fatigue definitely worsens your running form. Being aware of how you run, and the form faults that you tend to develop as you tire is very beneficial because you will learn to identify and feel when you are not running ‘properly’. You can also learn simple cues to help address these form faults while out running.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all running form

There are many different theories about the ideal running form or the best way to run, but in reality there is no singular ‘right way’ to run that will suit everyone. What’s important is that you learn about running form from experienced professionals with knowledge of running
biomechanics, and also of potential structural issues that may prevent certain movements from being sustainable.

Why participate in an intraining Form Workshop?

Learning about running form and practising running drills
is a great way to find out which drills resonate most strongly with you, and which help you to develop cues to assist with maintaining your own running form.

The intraining Form Workshops are run by a team of podiatrists who are all runners themselves and are experts in advising you on how to improve your running form while minimising injury risk.

You’ll learn specific running drills, which will provide you with a better understanding of your own running form and form faults, and help you to develop the confidence and skills to adjust your form on the run for more efficient and enjoyable running.

Join us at our next intraining Form Workshop on Saturday March 1st, 2024  . 

We’ll take you through:

  • Running drills that improve your posture, cadence and footstrike
  • Exercises to develop your co-ordination, and power
  • How to decrease your time on the ground, and increase your air time as while running.   reaction time
  • Cues you use to keep your momentum and speed in the final stages of your goal events.  

Feel stronger and faster this year while running.  Join our running form workshop, March 2nd, 2024