This simple change to your stride dramatically cuts the "heel smashing" variety of heel striking that can be dangerous and a significant injury risk. It also promotes a midfoot strike more naturally without you making slight adjustments to foot contact that can be more difficult.
When you're out running, it's helpful to use a simple cue to make sure you're not over-striding, and landing underneath your hips instead. Just try to "put your foot down" with each stride—this cue makes landing under your center of mass much more simple.
Increase Your Cadence
Now that you're landing underneath your body, the next part of your stride that we're going to correct is your cadence—in other words the number of steps that you take per minute.
Many claim that 180 steps per minute (with both legs) is the "perfect" cadence, but there's no magic number. When you're running at an easy, relaxed pace, your stride rate should be ideally above 170 to promote a more efficient gait.
When you start running faster, your cadence will naturally increase. If you're sprinting, it may be well over 200 steps per minute.
But while a cadence of 180 isn't necessarily a panacea, it's a good number to target, and will likely get you in an optimal range.
The next time you're out running, count how many times your right foot touches the ground for a full minute. Double that number to get your cadence. If your cadence is in the 160s or lower, you know that you need to increase your stride rate to have more efficient form.
Focus on taking more steps per minute than usual. It will probably seem weird at first, but you're putting less stress on your legs with each foot strike. Ideally, your cadence should be at least 170 steps per minute when you're running at an easy, conversational pace.
Many runners get overwhelmed with the details of forefoot versus midfoot striking, or the best way to lean forward while running. Stick to the basics and use these cues to run smarter, become more efficient, and get faster.race.