Adapting to more natural running

I’m trying to improve my running stride, and become more of a mid to fore-foot striker as opposed to a heel striker. I run in Vibram FiveFingers every now and then, but since I’m training for another Ironman next year, and my first ultra-marathon in December, I also run in “normal” running shoes for most of my miles. I worry about putting too much load on my feet training in just the Vibram’s.

While running today in my normal shoes (Mizuno Waverider’s) I made a conscious effort to improve and focus on my stride. After watching a series of videos, including this clinic by Terra Plana and some videos by Newton running shoes on Youtube, I’ve decided that regardless of the shoe that I wear, I can be in control of my form if I pay more attention to it. It will take some adaptation time before it becomes second nature. I haven’t purchased Newton’s yet, but here is a good video on some running form basics (ignore the marketing pitch and cheesy music!):

I focused on the following while running today:

  • Taking shorter strides (I’d estimate about 30% shorter)
  • Having a faster turnover of my legs (at least 30-50% faster)
  • Touching down lightly on my forefoot with each step
  • Landing with most of my weight/load on my mid-foot (after the forefoot hits)
  • Using more of my core and hips to move me forward as opposed to calves/legs
  • Gazing forward (about 20 yards)
  • Relaxing my shoulders and pulling them back a little (so my chest is open and not hunched)
  • Slight tuck of the tailbone
  • Slight lead forward at the hips (very subtle)

This seems like a lot to keep track of, but it was very simple. It took some mindfulness, but I noticed a big difference. My feet were more tired than normal and I think in general it took more energy to run like this, but I’m assuming this is just adaptation at work. Once I get all the little muscles in my feet working properly and the posture becomes more natural, I’m hoping that the effort should become more effortless.

Published by Ravi Raman

Executive Coach + Yogi + Endurance Athlete

2 replies on “Adapting to more natural running”

  1. I found that after running completely bare (No VFFs) that I quickly learned how to run and walk in shoes with a mid-foot strike. I run in VFFs often but completely bare really helped me.

  2. Hi! I admit I smirked when I first read the title of this entry, but after I finished reading and watching the video, I was suddenly intrigued about my own running form. I have never liked running because it puts so much impact on my shins, and even though at one point I almost thought I could relate to the “runner’s high”, the impact was too much for me to stick with running (since then, I have been finding ashtanga more rewarding : ) ). But now, I have given this “natural” form a try and it really does seem to help. I guess I’ll give running a second chance : )
    Thank you!
    Katheryn

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