How to run efficiently is a topic that inspires religious ferver among triathletes. Some people believe “by running alot you’ll naturally find the form that works best for you.” But if you look at the train wreck running form of many IM athletes (bent at the waist, getting little forward motion for all their energy), it’s hard to believe that more miles are going to help! Other people will argue vehemently about what part of the foot should strike the ground– some say it’s the ball of the foot, some say it’s the mid-foot, and some holdouts still believe in heel striking. You’ll hear some people talk about “driving the knee” or “toeing off” while others claim doing either is a waste of energy. Some claim you lift your legs with your hip flexors while others say to use your hamstrings. Some say you push off with your thighs while others say pushing off is futile.
Efficient running means getting as much forward movement (speed) as possible while using as little energy as possible. Efficiency is especially important in the Iron Distances when you don’t have a surplus of energy and fuel to waste. I’m not out to argue with anyone over the perfect running form with these videos– I’m just outlining the concepts that have allowed me to go 4 for 4 as far as running a strong marathon at my Ironman races, even when my training was severely limited due to a bike crash related foot injury. I’ve also found these concepts to be easy to teach my clients in training sessions and I’ve seen them make immediate improvements in their technique. My technique eliminates unnecessary movements or movements that I’ve found are not worth the energy cost (e.g. toeing off) and it gives me confidence to know that I can run very quickly for an entire marathon without burning unnecessary fuel or feeling like I’m “doing much” (at least until the last 10k!).
Efficient Running Technique Part 1: