Efficient Running

What makes someone a fast runner? Genetics? Body type? Amount of time they’ve spent running? Aerobic capacity? All of these are factors, but the secret to running fast is your running economy.

Running economy is basically how efficiently your body uses oxygen.

So how do you improve your economy?

Step 1: FORM

The feet should strike the ground as close to midfoot as possible under a bent knee after the leg has begun to swing back under the body. This means the strike is directly underneath the body (not in front) and the runner’s center of gravity should be positioned directly over the foot. Keep your arms back and never let them go anywhere but forward and back, no crossing motions. Chest should be slightly forward.

Here’s some elite distances runners with perfect form: head looking forward, slight forward lean, arm angle of 90 degrees or less with emphasis on a powerful back drive and high relaxed recovery, foot contact near midfoot underneath the center of gravity with push off well behind, and all momentum going in the forward direction.

Step 2: POWER

Many people think that you can increase your stride by extending your front foot forward. Actually, you get a longer stride and more power by pushing off with your back foot. You can increase your power by doing some box jumps and split squat leaps (Goggle these exercises if you aren’t familiar with them).


I’ve discussed cadence many times, and it’s still something that I struggle with. 90 foot-strikes per minute is the optimal cadence for most elite runners. Trying to maintain this is easier said than done. For more on cadence, look here.

Ran 7.84 miles in Zone 2. Time was 1:04:30 (8:13 min/mile pace). Felt pretty good despite the fact that it was extremely cold this morning (evidence):

It’s not the cold…it’s the WIND!!
I was able to bundle up and keep my heart rate in zone 2 for the entire run. I’m still amazed at how much I sweat when it’s 11 degrees outside. I had on three layers and sweat completely through two of them!
Avg HR = 158 bpm
Max HR = 163 bpm

After spending around 10 minutes stripping off layers of clothes, I cooled down with a few laps in the pool. The water was COLD! Remember when your were a youngin and really wanted to swim in the pool, but the water was cold. What did you do? You have to just jump in. So that’s what I did. It’s a whole lot better than slowly easing into the water. After a quick warmup, I covered 1074 yards (0.61 mi) in 22:07 (36:15 min/mile pace). I wasn’t pushing things, just wanted to get in some laps.

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