The Runners Corner Part 1: Running Technique

I can walk the walk, but how do I RUN the RUN!?

Running technique is often a hotly debated subject amongst runners and therapists. We often hear questions like “Should I avoid striking with my heel when I land?” or “How many steps should I take per minute?”. In this blog I hope to squash some myths and answer some questions you all have! Making even small improvements to your running technique can decrease you chance of injury and make your stride more energy efficient.

Foot strike pattern

In recent times there has been a growing trend to move away from rear foot striking patterns. A rear foot strike (also known as a heel strike) is the act of hitting the ground with your heel first when you run. A recent study showed that a change in foot strike pattern changes a small amount of load through your joints, but does not significantly decrease your chance of injury[1]. That being said, some running cues may make your foot strike pattern change organically. Generally you should try and run with the foot strike pattern that feels most comfortable.


Overstriding is when you land with your foot too far in front of your body. When this occurs it can lead to an increase in force generation and load through your joints. Runners who exhibit this running style are often more likely to get injured. One of the ways to improve this is to change your running cadence (I.e. how many steps you take in a minute). Increasing this by even 5% can significantly improve your stride length, as well as improve the loading through you joints.[2] To do this try and think about landing your feet underneath your body.

Running with too much bounce

Try and think of your running gait like throwing a ball. If you throw are ball with too much vertical angle, it actually won’t go very far. Similarly, if you running with a lot of vertical oscillation/bounce, it often means you are using more power to go less distance, making your stride less energy efficient. A simple cue to help correct this is to think about driving the ground away when you push off.

Correcting your running technique can often be quite tricky and requires exercises to improve strength and motor control. It also can take up to 6 weeks to see a significant change in your strength and control. If you would like any more information or are interested in a gait analysis from one of our physiotherapist, please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic.

[1] Anderson, Laura & Bonanno, Daniel & Hart, Harvi. (2019). What are the Benefits and Risks Associated with Changing Foot Strike Pattern During Running? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Injury, Running Economy, and Biomechanics. Sports Medicine. 50. 10.1007/s40279-019-01238-y.

[2] Heiderscheit BC, Chumanov ES, Michalski MP, Wille CM, Ryan MB. Effects of step rate manipulation on joint mechanics during running. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(2):296‐302. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ebedf4

Written by

Ben Cunningham