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Run like a pro: How to become a more efficient runner

As a runner, you can’t imagine what you would do if you weren’t able to get your miles in. For this reason, you are always looking for the best ways to be the most efficient runner, which includes staying healthy and injury-free.

You may look at successful runners for inspiration, but the reality is that everyone has their own unique style. However, the world’s best runners have similar mechanics that help make them more efficient. The good news is you can incorporate these same characteristics into your running.

These pro running mechanics include:

Initial contact

This is the location where your foot hits the ground, compared to the center of your body (your center of mass). The closer your foot hits the ground to your center of mass, the less braking force it will have on your body. The less impact force you create, the less your body must absorb across each joint and the more you can use your muscles’ energy for forward movement.

Vertical movement

The overall goal of running is to move your body forward in a straight line. The more you move your body up into the air, the less you’re using your muscles’ energy for forward motion. You want to minimize your body’s movement upwards and try to maintain as much forward movement as you can.

Hip and pelvic stability

The more you can keep your hips and pelvis area stable, the better your legs can produce the necessary muscle force for running. Your hips and pelvis are the foundation of your body, and if this area is not stable or solid, you won’t be able to use your legs to the greatest extent possible. Make sure you’re working the outside hip muscles when doing strengthening activities.


This is the number of steps you take per minute. Research shows shorter, more compact strides are often easier on the joints and result in less braking force on the body. There isn’t a specific cadence that a runner should aim for, as it all comes back to your overall health and the areas needing more efficiency. Some research lists a cadence of 180 steps per minute, but that is not a hard and fast number. Instead, it’s recommended to increase 5-10% from your current cadence for about two weeks before deciding if another change should be made.

The best way to know if you are an efficient runner is to have your running form analyzed by a professional who specializes in running mechanics. This specialist can assess all areas of your running and provide feedback and recommendations on what you can do to improve your efficiency. These techniques may require training modifications or the addition of specific exercises or drills to help make your run more efficient.

Katie Marcouiller is a physical therapist at Aurora Health Care.

Do you have hip or knee pain? Take a free online quiz to learn more. 

This article originally appeared on health enews.

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