ALTRA RUNNING NEW ZEALAND
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IMPROVE TECHNIQUE

Improve Your Form

Altra is committed to helping runners avoid injury by teaching efficient, low-impact running technique. Just like any other sport, you'd probably take lessons to get the most out of it. Whether you are just beginning to run or preparing for your next race, we've created the "learn to run initiative" to help runners run better and healthier.

FORWARD MOMENTUM POSTURE
  • Stand tall, gaze forward
  • Keep chest forward and shoulders back and relaxed
  • Don't bend at the waist
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  • Short, compact, relaxed arm movement
  • Pump back and recover forward, don't sway side to side
  • Elbows should not extend in front of the waist unless sprinting
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  • Land softly underneath a bent knee
  • Avoid over striding and excessive heel striking
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HIGH CADENCE

  • Maintain approximately 170-180 steps per minute
  • Count 30 steps per leg in 20 seconds for a 180 cadence
  • Light, soft, and quick foot placement

Proud Posture

Run tall, run proud! Straighten your back and push your chest and hips forward. This allows gravity to help ease you into your next step. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed and never bend at the waist. Lock your eyes on the horizon and avoid looking down at your feet or up into the sky.
Quick Tip: To reset your posture, quickly pump your arms forward and backward at a 45-degree angle. This brings your hips and chest forward and keeps your back straight.

  • Stand tall, gaze forward
  • Keep chest forward and shoulders back and relaxed
  • Don't bend at the waist

Compact Arms

Elite runners have very little arm movement when running. They quickly pop their elbows back and let them passively recover while the other elbow is popping back. They also keep their arms moving in a front-to-back motion instead of a side-to-side motion.

To increase efficiency, keep your arms compact and close to your chest at less than a 90-degree angle. Don't allow your elbows to come forward past your hips or your fists to cross the midline of your chest.

Quick Tip: Use Heavy Hands or 1–2 pound hand weights on easy runs to find your most efficient arm movement and angle.

  • Short, compact, relaxed arm movement
  • Pump back and recover forward, don't sway side to side
  • Elbows should not extend in front of the waist unless sprinting

Low Impact Landing

A proper, low-impact foot strike is the result of proud posture, compact arms, and quick steps. Thinking about your foot strike can cause lower leg fatigue, cramps, or other problems, and should be avoided. Each runner has their own unique foot strike, molded by genetics, running surface, and speed of running.

Most runners should land close to midfoot with their foot parallel to the ground. A slight heel landing or forefoot strike is acceptable as long as the foot hits the ground underneath your body. Over striding, excessive heel striking and running on your toes should be avoided as they cause excessive stress and impact.

Quick Tip: As you run, consciously remember to slightly bend your knees and run a little bit quieter.

  • Land softly underneath a bent knee
  • Avoid over striding and excessive heel striking

High Cadence

A high cadence, or quick steps, is proven to reduce impact and improve foot strike and running efficiency. Studies have shown that recreational, chronically injured runners run with a slow cadence, whereas elite and efficient runners have a cadence of above 170 steps per minute. Running barefoot can quickly improve cadence and help you master proper running technique. Start by increasing your cadence by 10–15 steps per minute (2–3 steps per leg in a 20 second period.) Once you've adapted to that, increase it again by another 10–15 steps per minute until you settle on a comfortable, efficient cadence between 170–180 steps per minute. Cadence changes very little with speed, so you can practice cadence on all types of workouts—even while running in place!

Quick Tip: Count the steps one foot takes in a twenty-second time period. An ideal cadence of 174–180 steps per minute consists of 29–30 steps in a twenty seconds.

  • Maintain approximately 170–180 steps per minute
  • Count 30 steps per leg in 20 seconds for a cadence of 180
  • Light, soft and quick foot placement
  • Spend several weeks gradually increasing cadence

    Injury Prevention Tip

    Aim to run at least 1/3 of your mileage on natural or uneven surfaces such as grass, cobblestones, or dirt trails-this will balance your muscle structure & strengthen your stabilizing muscles.

    Right now, many running stores teach running technique classes. Ask your local store! If they don't have a class, encourage them to start one.

    Altra also encourages all runners to do at least some barefoot running. Running truly barefoot teaches proper technique, strengthens feet, and has a multitude of other benefits.