Tualatin: Mon-Thur, 7 AM - 5 PM

19260 SW 65th Ave, Suite 285 
Tualatin OR 97062

Telephone: 503 927 1012


                                                              Beaverton, Tualatin Medical Clinics                    

Copyright, © 2013-2015. Run2bwell & Hans Kroese.   All rights reserved.


foot moves backward prior to impact,

landing behind the knee

hip extension

For more information on running drills specific for form correction. HANS KROESE, P.T. BSED, MOMT, SPM    -  Telephone 503 927 1012   -    EMAIL: info@run2bwell.com

                                                                                       Your Ideal Running Form

On some of my ultra-marathon events I get lapped by elite runners who are fast enough to qualify for the Western States, Leadville, or Hardrock endurance runs. These are incredible runners attempting to finish an extreme 100 mile event in less than 24 hours. 

Watching these superb athletes run by gives me the opportunity to observe their form. By observing their kick (terminal swing), the amount of bounce (vertical lift), side to side motion (lateral sway), amount of hip extension (initial swing), the bend in their knees (knee flexion at mid swing), etc., I can immediately tell who has better form. When the race is over I have watched countless runners go by, some real fast and some real slow. One thing is certain the faster runners have better form. 

I have analyzed and reanalyzed my own form on video over and over. I have corrected everything worth correcting. My form is superb yet I get passed by many runners on many a race. My conclusion, there is no correlation between ideal form and speed. Yet there is a correlation between speed and ideal form. You can have great form yet be slow. However, you cannot be a fast runner and have lousy form. The faster the runner the better the form. Elite runners have superb form and they spend a significant amount of time working on it. Proper form for beginner and intermediate runners maximizes your potential for speed  and reduces your chance of injury.

What defines proper form? Do elite runners have ideal form? Or are they just built differently? Trying to describe ideal form from the perspective of Dennis Kimetto, the world record marathoner, to us regular running folks is akin to describing color to a blind person. You may be able to imagine running down hill on the moon or free falling out of a plane but you can’t imagine running side by side with Dennis for more than a few minutes. His average pace during a marathon is 4:41.5. He manages to maintain that pace for just over 2 hours!   

Here is a synopsis of ideal running form seen in elite runners. The elite runners are where they

are because of their unique hip structure. Power must come from the hips. Simple as that.

The rest is an after thought. If you can extend your hips your efficiency will improve and you

will be faster at whatever distance you choose.

The advantage of hip extension is that it utilizes one of the largest muscles in the body the gluteal

(or butt muscle) for power. It also gives you a mechanical advantage. The forward thrust coming

from the hips propels you forward not up. This gives you less of a bounce or vertical lift

(see the flat run alternative).  The less the vertical lift the more efficient your form. 

The second aspect essential to these super athletes’ performance is the foot strike.

The knees must be bending the moment prior to the foot striking the ground… also known as 

paw back.

The power this time comes from the hamstrings. They do the work during terminal swing by

pulling the foot backward and landing the foot behind the knee prior to impact.

The key is for your foot to strike the ground when being behind the knee. 

Proper running form is not as simple as it seems. Many running related injuries can be cured simply through form correction.