All in your stride - why your running style matters

Published 12th October 2020 by mymo

How you run is part of you. It’s cultivated through your DNA, your running experience, even how many (and which) injuries you might have had in the past.

Every runner moves differently and in their own unique way. The way everyone moves is ‘right’. There are no ‘wrong’ ways to run, especially not if you are running well and without injury. There are some really careful tweaks you can make to running technique to make you more efficient, especially later in your races when you are tired. The tweaks you can make to running technique can earn you a PB, get you stronger in different ways and bring you a new sense of power and control on your feet.

Double Snowdonia Marathon Champion Russell Bentley has an enviable running style of his own. As a Noble Pro ambassador, he’s often seen sharing videos running on his treadmill with efficient and strong style even at top speed. Russell though recently shared a video on Twitter of athlete Augustine Choge gliding along with seemingly effortless fluidity that we’d all like to copy. That got us thinking …  

So how do we run and when should we think about making some changes?

Broadly speaking, you’re either a heel striker (heel first into toes), midfoot striker (landing in the middle of your foot) or forefoot (up on the toes). You add to this overpronation (rolling in) and supination (rolling out). Let’s be clear, not a single one of these combinations is ‘right’. It isn’t the way you land that makes you run at a particular speed. We see runners bouncing on their forefoot at a slower speed than a heel striker and vice versa.

As you’re landing through your stride, your upper body is doing things differently too. You might hunch your shoulders, move one arm more than the other, or you might be a head-bobber (see Paula Radcliffe for a very famous example of this). The first thing with any of this is to not judge how you run on your race photographs. While you might see some patterns between your photos, only a video, a real person or mymo can make this judgement. If you’re wearing the right shoes and keeping yourself strong in ways away from running, you should be good to go. If there are some problems such as a recurring injury you just can’t shake off then it could be time to look at your running style and see if there are any subtle changes you can bring in.

As well as getting specialist information to inform which shoes are best for you, it could be time to call on a running coach. Running coaches are trained eyes in technical work and usually in a very short space of time are able to spot areas you can work on. They can be something as simple as getting you to stop carrying your phone (especially on your arm) to addressing a weakness in an area such as glutes or suggesting some targeted strength work might be needed in a calf.

Unless it’s going to make a very positive difference to how you run, simply work on your weak spots and embrace the unique way you run. When we are all running together, nobody is going to notice anyway!

If you’d like to learn more about how we have evolved as runners and how best to look at technique of movement, we recommend The Lost art of Running by Shane Benzie, out now via Bloomsbury Sport.

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