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Running strides

We’re all looking to run faster, and having a good running technique is the assurance we are getting there. In the training of the runner, the running technique of is often neglected. Running is simple, it’s putting one foot in front of the other and starting over. However, the technical aspect of racing is not a small parameter to take into account, it is even one of the major elements in the overall performance.

Pronation, supination…

We often talk about pronator, supine or universal strides that correspond to the attitude of the runner in action.

Pronation is a sagging foot inward, supination to an outward tilt of the foot, and neutral (universal) stride to a perfect alignment of the foot during the run. One can also identify its type of stride with the study of traces of wear present on the front of the soles: a pronator stride uses more the inner part while a supine stride makes more use of the outer part. As for the universal stride, wear is more on the central part.

But is this a really relevant criteria for characterizing a stride? How do you compare to so-called “previous” or “posterior” strides?

Forefoot, mediofoot…

Arthur Molique, Sports Doctor explains:

It is more consistent to talk about the technique of laying the foot on the ground during the race. When the foot is dynamic, it is possible to determine whether the pose is on the back (posterior or “heeling”) by mediofoot or forefoot (anterior pose).

Propulsion is provided by the laying of the foot. The stride can be shaving or airy, but the propulsion force is transmitted at the time of ground contact. However, it is necessary to constantly coordinate the movement of the arms in opposition to the movement of the legs. As the support leg creates the movement of the back cycle, the free leg creates the movement of the front cycle. The ideal position of the body would be at a very light angle in front of the vertical, in unsered extension.

There are two different phases in the process:

The rear foot is supported by the ground, the ankle, knee and hip joints are stressed, the opposite arm is forward. This phase is powerful, the muscles are in tension, the thigh propels vigorously, the back remains sheathed. The front foot is in the air.

Suspension – The front leg is in the air, the knee goes far, then the foot prepares for contact on the ground, the opposite arm is squared back. It’s thanks to this analysis that we can easily determine a runner’s style and his/her type of stride

Some biomechanical characteristics are constantly observed in effective runners who unconsciously seek to be more economical. High step frequency, minimal vertical movement, reduced ground contact time, little braking phase and economy of limb movements are characteristics that define the international runner.

Conversely, some runners drop their foot in front of the centre of gravity, attacking the heel, increasing their braking phase, impact force and ground contact time. This mechanic will slow down the pace of the stride and therefore the dynamism on the ground. A significant loss of energy will occur during the extended support phase which will require the runner to do additional muscle work during propulsion.

We can distinguish two main types of strides

The rear-foot stride

In the rear cycle, the riders get heavier, the aerial movement of the leg is done behind the rider in relation to a vertical line passing through the bust. In the back race, the leg being behind the imbalance of the body, the foot that will pass in support arrives hurriedly from the back and the top. It hits the ground in the opposite direction to the running movement (the foot goes forward in the shoe).

The front-foot stride

While the front cycle runners lighten up. The aerial movement of the leg is done in front of the runner in relation to a vertical line passing through the bust. In the race before, after the push, the lower limb leaves the ground and quickly returns under the buttock and then forward. At the time of support, the knee is already at the front of the body. As its movement is directed upwards, it helps to slim down the body. In addition, its fastening will allow the leg to open forward and then come back and forth. Result: the foot comes to touch the ground in a back and forth motion (it backs up in the shoe); braking is greatly reduced.

In order to aim for a more efficient and less traumatic stride, the idea is to draw inspiration from the previous stride, more aerial, dynamic and timed.

30% of runners are injured each year, athletes having made a habit of running on heels, preferring damping at the back of the foot, with shocks too harmful for the body.

To better understand running and how your body works is to give you the best chance to improve your stride, so that it is more natural and less traumatic over time.