Running form part 5 of 10: Lean/Fall

Our running form priority list is:
1. Foot strike
2. Cadence
3. Breathing pattern
4. Shoulder position/tension
5. Lean/ Fall
6. Head position
7. Arm position/swing
8. Hip position
9. Hand tension
10. Leg return


What is Lean/Fall?

Running Lean/Fall is when we run with a lean forward from the ankles. This is called a forward running posture. It is a running form technique that uses body momentum to help project our weight transfer forward, rather than up and down (bounding).


The Tech:

Why does Lean/Fall position matter?

A correct Lean/Fall  from the ankles plays an important part of refining our running technique. Focussing on Lean/Fall can;

-increase running efficiency through transferring weight from a bounding (up and down weight transfer), to a forward fall momentum, aiding in forward projection.

-can contribute to front/mid foot strike through decreasing the ability to over-reach with our strides

-can reduce the risk of foot strike impact related injuries

-can aid in ability to maintain high cadence (amount of foot strikes per minute)

How can we achieve a Lean/Fall running form?

When we Lean/Fall during our runs we need to ensure we are leaning from our ankles and not from our hips or back. This poor hip lean may be a default form when we fatigue, so being self-aware will help us to make conscious, corrective form changes and refocus our lean to be purely from the ankles. Think of Michael Jackson in his Moonwalker video…

d6anr2lmcfntxzorkj7u9yyveal…Although its extremely exaggerated and totally unachievable, it demonstrates leaning from ankles rather than bending from the waist.

A good lean identifier is to observe your first step as you take off to run. The forward projection of lean is used to initiate our movement. If you have problems visualising your movements you may want to ask a fellow running friend to watch you, video record your runs or pick a running path that has windows adjacent to it so you can analyse your reflection (Melbourne people near the Exhibition and Convention Centre will be familiar with this perk).

runningformforwardpic1-We are aiming to have our body in a straight line from the foot that’s on the ground through to our head. We need to avoid bending at the hips/lower back .

-Focus on running tall with a straight, erect posture. To help you remember, pretend a string is attached to the top of your head and is being pulled upward toward the sky. It is an effective way to reinforce a tall, straight back with no slouching.

-When we have it right we should feel comfortable and fluid in our run, notice less bounding in our movements. This can be felt in our torso with less of our bits flapping around and/or notice that our head is now stable and not jolting up and down with each step.

The Videos: 

nokkon Ambassador feedback:

Shaun Moore: “For myself lean/fall came naturally to my running especially along flats. This was due to my tennis background, so my body was trained for the ready position. The downhills is where I had to work on my forward lean. When you first take on a downhill especially on a trail, you naturally lean back and apply the brakes. This can be more likely to occur if you are unsure of your footing and trail. After a few trail runs I found if you slightly lean forward and let gravity do the rest. You can recover faster on the downs and get down them a lot quicker and more efficiently”

Stay tuned for our next Running Form blog post on Head Position.



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