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How to run like a Kenyan: three tips to run faster, smoother and with ease

How to run like a Kenyan: three tips to run faster, smoother and with ease

Author: Margot Manning, intraining podiatrist and running coach

Kenyan runners make it all look so easy. Even at the end of a marathon, their running form appears effortless and their feet seem to barely touch the ground. Aside from genetics, talent and an incredible amount of training, the reason for their ‘running grace’ is the effectiveness of how their muscles and nerves interact. This is known as neuromuscular control.  

Neuromuscular control combines muscle strength, power, balance, coordination and rhythm. In short, this is what gives quality to movement. When you improve the quality of your movement, you should be able to see improved performances and reduced injury risk.    

Here are three key training tips to help you run faster, smoother and with ease:

1.   Make time for speed training

When you run faster your muscles and nerves start being used differently.  Faster running causes a change in the firing patterns of the nerves and causes the muscle fibres to contract at different rates. Your body has to be able to stay balanced and coordinated with the more powerful running movement.

All levels of running ability can benefit from speed training. In fact, beginner runners will have greater jumps of improvement than someone who has trained for a longer period of time.  

2.   Running drills and core strength exercises

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Including specific exercises that focus on hip and core strength in your training routine and even before your training runs can have a positive impact on maintaining strength and power. Pilates and home-based hip and core exercises can develop a certain level of trunk stability and control.  

Running drills increase the learning of movement patterns and can have a huge impact on improving your performance, particularly for newer runners. 

3.   Focus on your form

Running faster and keeping your form consistent requires you to think about how you are running. This means that at the end of a run when you are feeling tired, you need to switch on rather than allow the discomfort of running take over. This is hard to do, but can make a difference in helping you get to the end more easily and happily.

Think about keeping your legs turning over, with a faster rather than longer stride, your hips up and landing your foot on the ground as smoothly as possible.  

While we’re not promising that you’ll beat the Kenyans, you can make significant improvements to your running style by following these training tips.

Do you need help with these training tips?

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Book an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists or physiotherapists at the intraining running injury clinic—they are passionate about running and keeping you on the road.

They specialise in creating diverse programs to reduce the risk of injury, rehabilitate existing injuries and help you achieve your running goals.

For bookings, call 3367 3088 today or email [email protected]


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