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1279 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2013 6:57 PM by lenzlaw
Opandescent Rookie 1 posts since
Jan 31, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 31, 2013 7:43 AM

Most Effective vs. Most Efficient running form

Been doing some research on the internet (and have been running/jogging for the past few months). I've tried Ct5k to start out, read [URL=""]scooby's article[/URL] on the matter, looked up [URL=""]effective runners[/URL] to try to imitate their stride and done some personal experimentation.



By effective I mean 'fast' and by efficient I mean 'run but don't get tired easily'.



I was wondering if anyone knew any tips on how to run 1) effectively and 2) efficiently. I understand that both require very different things (like fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, etc) but I was looking for how to optimize both or either one at once. I will be going into mandatory military service soon (about a year) so I need to get myself prepped for daily long-distance high-intensity running.



I don't want to push to extreme pain training for it (I've done it before, about two years back I did a ferocious push-till-you-drop regime, in an attempt to get myself used to pushing. I kept this up for a year and never did get used to pushing myself into/through intense headaches, and instead developed a horrible running form). Also, I don't want to be pushing to keep up with regular training inside the military when I do go into military service, so I am seeking a way in which I can optimize form.



Do any seasoned runners here have tips on proper form for efficient running and effective running? Please answer separately unless it is a general rule that applies to both. Anything that you feel is useful to know would help.



I would also like to know how to avoid braking prematurely while running (I heard overextending stride causes this, but is there anything else?). I've also had much difficulty trying to maintain a steady view of the surroundings like Scooby advises (I find my head bounces a lot while trying to land on forefoot rather than hindfoot) and am having a lot of difficulty trying to 'glide' across the treadmill/track like he recommends.

  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 1, 2013 11:16 AM (in response to Opandescent)
    Most Effective vs. Most Efficient running form

    First - if you're an elite runner or someone approaching that and competing at that level is your goal I'd be looking at a f2f coach to help.  The rest that follows assumes you're pursuing improvements "recreationally" - meaning you're wanting to improve and get faster for your own satisfaction.  That's not to say a "recreational" runner isn't serious - I'm just assuming you're not looking to do this to be a professional or compete with elites.


    While I've studied running forms quite a bit I haven't gone down the fine points of "effective" and "efficient".  So I can't offer much there.


    There are a number of "packaged" running form programs.  Three in particular I think are the most well known:  Chi Running, Pose Method, and Evolution Running.  Another one that is getting some notoriety is a/the barefoot running form advocated by Dr. Mark Cuccuzzella.  He is careful to call it a barefoot running form - which is best learned when barefoot.  But he's pretty clear in my mind that once you learn the form it can be used barefoot or with shoes.  I'm not familiar with the form you reference above.  (I'm not saying that like it's not well known - it's just that I haven't run across it before.)


    A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post doing a rough comparison of Chi,  Pose and Evolution Running.  It is, by far, the most accessed page on my blog.  This form topic clearly is a hot topic.


    At the time of that writing I considered my self a Pose Method runner but I no longer label myself that way.  My body just couldn't handle the forefoot strike that Pose advocates.  Before the folks come out saying "Well - you weren't doing it right." - well - I just don't believe that.  I think there is something about my body and how tight the whole posterior chain is that prevented me from using it effectively.  When I started using some of Dr. Cuccuzzella's techniques my issues went away - virtually immediately.  The two in particular were 1) forward knee drive and 2) mid/whole foot landing.  Here is a BEAUTIFUL video showing Dr. C running and explaining his technique.  I just love watching this guy run.


    The five most major, common components of any of these running forms are:

    • Erect posture.  "Run tall" as people say.
    • Slight forward lean.  (Oh gosh I don't want to open up the can of worms that comes out of this component.  I've seen arguments that, were it not for it being the internet, I'm convinced would have resorted to fisticuffs.)
    • High foot cadence - ~180 steps per minute.  This cadence is relatively common for any running speed.  It might vary a little, but don't conclude this cadence means running fast.  It's just like riding a bike - when you're going up hill - your feet spin a lot but you move slowly.
    • Very short stride length.
    • Landing with your feet as close to under your hips as possible.


    Good luck.



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 1, 2013 6:57 PM (in response to Haselsmasher)
    Most Effective vs. Most Efficient running form

    Opandescent, that's a great video of Dr. Cuccuzzella demonstrating running techniques. You could learn a great deal more there than either of the links you cited. I particularly appreciate that he doesn't "push" a particular method.  Keep in mind that sprinting (your second link) has significant differences from endurance running. So sprinters form is of interest but may not be worth emulating for your purposes.  Also the March, 2013 Runners World has a couple pages discussing the basics of form which are worth reading.


    Jim, your experience with Pose shows that what is efficient for one person may not be for another. Still the basics of good form which you listed, hold true.




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