Running Revelations

All this time I’ve been running I’ve been doing it wrong and I didn’t know it!  Since I’ve really been into running lately I’ve been reading a lot about it, mostly for inspiration more than anything else.  But along the way I’ve learned a lot and I realized I’ve been doing some things wrong and hurting myself without even knowing it.  Here are a couple of the things that I’ve learned about recently…

Stride rate, or leg turnover. 

Did you know that most elite distance and Olympic-class runners crank out a stride rate of over 180 strides per minute?

Taking too long of a stride slows a runner down because it increases impact and, because of that, injury risk- it sends shock throughout  the lower leg and shins possibly affecting your hips as well.

Shorter lighter steps are the way to go!

This is something that I have really been practicing lately.  I was definitely trying to take much too large of a stride. So I practiced hitting 3 strides per second (that comes out to 180 strides/minute).  It felt silly at first, but I noticed I was able to run faster AND my foot and knees didn’t hurt!  Shock of all shocks!  I’ve been having terrible pain in my feet while I’ve been running and to think all I needed to do was take smaller strides!!  I’m still working on this and I will be for some time- it will take a while to really get it ingrained in my head.

This is also helping me with the next thing, which is…

How your feet strike the ground.

We have the tendency to let our heels strike the ground first and then push off from there.  From what I understand we should be landing midfoot and then pushing off of the balls of our feet.  The force of impact is much much greater when our heels hit the ground first than it is when our midfoot does.  Again, sending shocks throughout our joints causing pain and injury.

Here is some interesting info on that.

So I’ve also been working on this!  This is very hard for me because I was in marching band for 11 years and we were taught to ALWAYS lead with the heel and roll our feet from there.  This is so stuck in my head that it’s very hard to change and it has really been a struggle for me.  But I’m working on it- and I’ve also noticed a lot less pain in my feet from doing this too, so yay!


Anyway, there are just a few things I’ve been learning lately, hopefully I’ll have more to add to this list soon- remember I’m no doctor or running expert! Use caution when trying something new while running!!

Also, I’m also thinking of transitioning to some minimalist shoes… anybody know anything about this or could give me some good suggestions/books/websites??


  1. That’s really interesting about the stride length; I wonder if this holds true for walking as well?

  2. Vibram Five-fingers (or whatever their official name is) are top of the line and cannot be beat. But you REALLY have to transition in them… A few minutes a day, paying close attention to your form. A great book in terms of gaining inspiration for and learning about this healthier, more correct way to run is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. His discovery mesmerizes and entrances him so much that he tends to get a bit carried away, but you know enough to keep the good points (and there are many) amd discard hyperbole. Hope this helps!

    • I don’t think I’m wanting to go quite that minimal, plus I just can’t get over the way they look. (I’ve seen people wearing those things with jeans and slacks!)

      I’ll check out that book, thanks for the recommendation!

Speak Your Mind