Proper Running Form and Muscular Efficiency

If you have already read about our 4 laws of training then you have an idea of what our training system is all about. If you have not read them yet we recommend you check them out first. Either way here is our take on running form and how to train for it.

Wherever you look for training to become a better and faster runner, you will always hear about proper running form. Why is form so important? First off I would like to say that at runwithpower we do not argue the fact that proper running form certainly will improve your running. We differ from most trainers and coaches as to exactly what proper running “form” is. Let me demonstrate this in as few words as possible (a series of books could literally be published on this topic). Most running and speed coaches will try to “teach” athletes what to do with their arms, their knees, their posture, their ankles, so on and so forth, in order to achieve what we would say is the most efficient running stride possible. It’s not hard to recognize when some has improper running form. You literally can see it in the fact that when you watch any group of people running side by side, they all look different.

If there is such thing as the “most efficient stride” then it will look just about the same in every person, doesn’t matter if they areIMG_1565 tall, short, or whatever. If you have been reading about our training philosophy up to this point, maybe you have begun to pick up on our reasoning that when we talk about the correct anatomical position on the structural joints and full range of motion due to an efficient muscular system, when training according to the 4 Laws we have described, all this translates to correct running form.

So in effect, we don’t necessarily believe that you can teach someone proper running form, especially if their muscular system has inefficiencies that affect how their skeletal system is positioned and literally moves. You have to train the body according to the 4 Laws of training we have described in order to allow the body to naturally begin to run with better, more efficient form.

An analogy we use frequently is comparing the body to a car. Think of the alignment of a car’s wheels and how the performance of a car might be affected if the wheels were slightly, or drastically, off. A sprinter could be compared to a high performance race car. A long distance runner might be comparable to any car driving thousands of miles. The point is, in the race car analogy, a serious accident could occur if the wheels weren’t aligned properly, or the engine might have to work significantly harder to accelerate a car with poorly aligned wheels. In the analogy of a long drive, they will wear out quickly if they are off, as well as you will get less gas milage over the course of a long trip, say if the tires were flat. The flat, misaligned wheels of a car can easily be compared to skeletal misalignments in our bodies that negatively affect our overall performance.

So our idea of running with proper form is similar to driving a finely tuned car. The difference is you can’t teach a car to realign its wheels. Adjustments have to be made to the actual car itself, just as we have to literally train our muscular system to reposition our joints in a manner that promotes more efficient movement. You can’t just teach someone to run with a more efficient stride. It must be a byproduct of efficient training.

Loren Sheets

2 Comments on this post


  1. Ryan said:

    This makes a lot of sense. Interesting that a lot of running gurus want to “fix” your running with new gear like shoes. So how do I go about training my muscular system to promote more efficient movement? Do you have suggestions?

    December 4th, 2009 at 10:16 pm
  2. scott said:

    We will be building you a series of programs to show you exactly this. Look for the first of these programs, our Warm-up and Cool-down options for distance and sprint training soon.

    In the meantime keep looking in the categories of whatever style of training your doing for information on how to give your muscles the training they need to help build a higher level of efficiency to run with.

    December 4th, 2009 at 10:44 pm


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