What Are the 3 Principles of Running Technique?

You must use proper techniques to yield optimum results when playing an instrument. The same could be said for running.

There are three main principles of running technique. These are:

  1. Pose
  2. Fall
  3. Pull

Without perfecting these three principles, your running career will suffer greatly. By paying attention to your running form, you can expect to:

  • Run more efficiently
  • Run longer distances and improve your pace
  • Reduce the risk of injury

Keep reading as we detail these three main principles of running technique, and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.


Your pose, or body position, will determine how fast, long, and painful your run will be.

Putting your body into the correct position starts with your spinal position. Everything stems from this. Without this foundation, movement in any other body part will not be as efficient.

To set your spine in a neutral position, you should:

  1. Squeeze your butt to about 20% of your full strength
  2. Set your ribcage by squeezing your abdominal muscles to about 20% of your full strength
  3. Keep your gaze straight ahead
  4. Keep your shoulders back and chest open
  5. Avoid sticking your chest or butt out too far

To get a tactile sense of proper running posture, stand straight against a wall. Push your butt firmly against the wall while keeping your chest up, core engaged, and back flat. This is the posture you should be running in (Check your running posture every 10 to 15 minutes).

From there, you can get the proper running pose. From your profile, you should see:

  • One leg elevated and the other leg supporting you on the ground
  • Your knee on your supporting leg will be slightly bent
  • Your foot on your elevated leg will be pulled underneath your hip
  • Your arms, with your elbows bent at about 90 degrees, are close to your chest and moving straight forward and back


Runners do not push off the ground. But instead, they fall forward at a slight angle, letting gravity do the work.

Falling occurs when your center of mass (approximately at your belly button) passes over your support point (your feet).

It would help if you aimed for a slight tilt (roughly five degrees) starting at your ankles. You should avoid leaning or bending backward or forward from the waist as this puts too much pressure on your hips.

Think of how a tree falls. It remains in its original shape. It doesn’t hinge or bend. That’s how you should fall if you are in the optimal position.


As a runner, your main goal is to pull your foot off the ground, to be in the air as long as possible, and on the ground as little as possible.

Your pulling cadence should be at least 180 steps per minute or 90 steps per foot per minute. By staying at or above 180 steps per minute, you are taking advantage of your body’s muscle-tendon elasticity and ground reaction forces.

Remember, when pulling your foot from the ground, you pull it directly under your hip, and as your fall angle increases, so should your pulling cadence.

The Foot & Ankle Center

At The Foot & Ankle Center, we’re passionate about your drive to live an active lifestyle. We want you to be on your feet for as long as possible! That’s why we share information like this to ensure you receive the best chance at living a fulfilling, active, and healthy life.

For more information about The Foot & Ankle Center, visit us at https://www.facstl.com/.