Latest News - Eltham | Back In Motion

Week 6 – Optimal Run Technique

Published: September 16, 2020

By Marty Ayres

There are so many reasons why we might get sore or sustain injuries when we run. As we discussed there are also many ways that we can prevent running injuries. It could be:

  • Being more GRADED with our increases in load, both starting up and during training; or
  • Choosing great shoes that suit you; or
  • Adding variety to your training; or
  • Strengthening your muscles.

However, if you run like Phoebe from Friends (I told you I was watching too much Netflix, didn’t I?!) using those strong muscles and great shoes poorly - you can still sustain small injuries. Generally, getting stronger will condition those muscles to even the worst technique, but learning to run more efficiently, and changing the loading pattern is a great way to help you run longer, harder and faster.

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Generally speaking, when we take a long stride and land on our heel, we increase load through our hip and quad muscles, whereas when we run leaping up the air and land on our toe, we increase load through the calf.

The PERFECT technique
You don’t have to run perfectly, because there is no perfect technique; and any book telling you there is one perfect way to run is sadly mistaken. You can land on your heel if you feel more comfortable that way, or you can land on your toe, your foot placement is specific to you.

That is why we would assess your technique based on your body’s ability - your strength, your mobility and pick the best technique for you.

One size does not fit all
Generally speaking, if anyone tells you one size fits all, with anything in life, its likely to be too good to be true (even hats, our Director David can attest to that!)

That could be in diet; rather than starting a Fasting or Atkins diet, consult a dietitian to get an eating plan catered to you, or with your injury; don’t just follow an online protocol, consult a physio to get a rehab program catered to you.

Running assessment           
When we assess you run, we keep in our minds what we found in your physical assessment. The injury you had presented with and what muscles vs which ones are your tighter or weaker muscles. These findings might explain why you run the way your run, or help us to modify your technique to ensure we keep you out on the track.

To show you what I mean by when we assess your running technique, we have the below videos to demonstrate the steps we follow and different areas we analyse:


Running assessment from Marty Ayres on Vimeo.

Running analysis from Marty Ayres on Vimeo.

Force frame from Marty Ayres on Vimeo.

To get you started, our simple advice is

  1. Get comfortable and relaxed, running is meant to be fun;
  2. Avoid an over stride by landing underneath your body (not out in front); and
  3. Try to run smooth and quietly, reducing the amount of vertical impact when the foot hits the ground. 

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This wraps up our blog series on all things running. If you would like any further information on have any questions for Marty, please contact our practice on 9439 6776 to book in a consultation with Marty.

This blog series is written by Marty Ayres - Physiotherapist, Grad Cert in Sports Physiotherapy and Melbourne Marathon completer at Back In Motion Eltham.