Fundamentals of efficient running technique

Running technique plays a huge role in sustainable speed and injury prevention. Our tests show that runners of all levels can improve efficiency by 4.5 to eight percent by incorporating the techniques of Evolution Running. Fundamentals of efficient, injury-free running technique are summarized below.

1. Land with your foot directly beneath your hips, never out in front. This reduces braking and impact stress, letting you carry energy from the previous stride efficiently into the next.

2. Keep the heel unweighted throughout the stride cycle. Efficient runners keep almost all of their weight on the forefoot throughout the weight-bearing phase of each stride cycle. This provides both shock absorption and energy return for propulsion for the next stride.

3. Run with a turnover of at least 180 to 182 foot-strikes per minute at any running speed. This reduces the need for vertical displacement, minimizes fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment and impact stress, and provides the greatest energy return for the next stride.

4. Create propulsion through hip extension and not knee flexion or knee extension. This creates a more efficient, horizontal propulsion and engages larger muscle groups to do the work.

5. Accelerate the foot backward before it hits the ground. This minimizes braking and allows propulsion to begin the instant the foot becomes weight bearing.

6. Minimize contact time between the feet and ground. This minimizes vertical displacement and allows optimal use of elastic recoil.

More information is available in Ken's book The Triathlete's Guide to Run Training and in the video that he and Joe Friel produced about running technique, Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries. Both are available at

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