Running is a very complex motion where all parts of the body interact. We humans come in different shapes and forms, differences that determines what works for us as runners.
Running should feel light, balanced and comfortable. Dare to trust your own feeling; it is your most valuable instrument when shaping your running.
Our approach towards enabling this is the Running Wheel, centered around a hub, with five spokes.
The pelvis is the Hub in Running and utterly it is from there all movements in your body can be derived. A correct and well-executed movement in the pelvis in interaction with your other body parts is the key to holistic Running, i.e. Full Body Running. Posture, lean, arms and cadence are technical details which correctly executed helps the pelvis to move in an effective manner, which eventually results in a correct foot landing underneath your hips, i.e. your centre of mass.
If you push too hard with your quads without right hip position, you will most likely end up overstriding with a heel strike. In order to generate a long powerful stride without reaching forward with your leg and overstriding, you need to focus on your hip position. Push hip forward, do not sit back.
Hip extension, is when you drive your upper thigh (and leg) backward after your foot makes contact with the ground. Hip extension acts as a throttle how fast you are able to run.
To get the body in a right alignment is the foundation of a good running posture.
Good posture is essential to create the right conditions to move in an efficient manner throughout all stages of the running cycle and enable forces to flow through the body without energy loss. Correct posture aim to maintain optimal balance, where gravity works in your favour.
In most disciplines there is no ”free lunch”. Everything comes at a cost. The good news for runners is that for running there is actually free energy to gain. Gravity is the free energy source – you just need to learn how to best use it. You want to shift your weight forward from the ankles in order to capitalize of the forward falling motion and transition that gravitation brings. Make sure that you do not bend at the waist. The lean should start at the ankle and involve the whole body.
Let the free running gravity work its wonders to your running and you will run more efficient and effortlessly than ever before. In your forward falling motion it is essential to maintain balance in each and every part of the running cycle in order to keep a good posture. Posture and lean create conditions for a correct foot landing.
When you get tired you want to avoid starting slouching. Think about yourself as having strings attached to your body, being pulled up almost like a puppet. Run tall, run strong, keep balanced and use the gravity to your advantage.
The body’s interaction with the arms is of great importance to make use of torsional movement and find the right balance. The angle you have at the elbow, and how far you swing your arms in front and to the back of your body are technical details that has great impact on your running form throughout your whole body.
You want to avoid a locked angle or too large of an angle between the upper arm and forearm. It demands muscle power to keep this position, which normally results in too stiff arms and arm swing. It might also lead to that too large share of the arm’s mass gets too much in front of the body, which in turn brings the upper body forward, which then ends up in a bent-over leaning position. The arm swing should be relaxed and natural. It is ok to decrease the angle of the forearm during the forward arm swing and keep the arm close to your body, as seen in the pictures below.
The arm swing sets the pace for the stride frequency (cadence). In addition, a larger movement in the arms allows for a greater rotation in pelvis and thereby enabling a longer stride length. Letting the arm swing higher up behind the body primarily enables the larger movement.
Legs and arms run together, if you increase the pace of your arm swing, then the turnover of your feet will also increase and vice versa. Cadence increase when the pace increases, but the difference should be relatively small and the guideline should be 180 steps/min. The right cadence give you the right condition to turn you stride in time at the front of the run cycle in order to have time to get your foot strike at the right place under the centre of mass (underneath your body). This will help you find the balance and correct timing in the run cycles all phases from air flight to stance phase and create stability for your running.
You want to avoid overstriding, where the foot comes into contact with the ground well ahead of the hips. In addition, overstriding is most commonly combined with a heel strike and a too straight knee causing greater braking forces and excessive impact forces.
Maintain a high Cadence is also the key to improve your uphill, downhill and crosscountry running.
Turnover of the feet or cadence is essential part of correct running technique. A quicker turnover means a more efficient run. Less friction and impact forces, which makes it easier for the muscles and joints.
Posture, lean, arm swing and cadence are all important factors that in fact determine how the foot strike will be at foot landing. When the foot strikes the ground it should have a pre-tension right before it strikes, which leads to a more stable but also softer landing and importantly the elastic energy is used to its full extent. Approximately 52% of the energy at foot landing can be recycled through the arch and Achilles' tendon.
Even though the preferred foot landing is on mid foot or close to mid foot, we believe discussions about whether the heel slightly strike the ground first or not should be toned down and rather the focus should be shifted to what leads to a correct foot landing – a correct running technique with an optimal pre-tension in the foot before foot strike. A heel strike that lands close to the hips (your centre of mass) and on a bent knee causes no significant over-braking or over-loading to the knee. Looking at running this way, a holistic approach, one can see how all parts interact with one another and help each other out through the whole running cycle = Full Body Running™
Remember, you take approximately 1000 steps per kilometer and each step carries a load of approximately three times you body weight, consequently an error in foot landing has huge impact over time for your long-term running health.
In our holistic view on running – Full Body Running with its hub and five spokes is the foundation when we build running shoes. The design and construction of our shoes can be derived from the natural running technique and the biomechanical laws that govern how the human movement when running, this is the last piece in the jigsaw-puzzle to make the "Salming Running wheel" roll as frictionless and balanced as possible.
Natural running shoes should be designed to facilitate for you to find the right running technique/form. At Salming, we apply what we call the "Rule of 5"
#1 light Improves running efficiency with approximately 2-3% per 100 g reduction in shoe weight. Lightweight shoes will cut minutes away from your PB on a half marathon.
#2 flexible Flexibility should imitate the foot flexibility in order to facilitate a natural running technique. You will improve training of biological structures with a flexible forefoot shoe design.
#3 flat Low Heel to Toe Drop facilitates correct foot landing at the ball of the foot. In addition you become more naturally balanced with gravity without adjusting body position. The arch area of the shoe should not be pushed up too much as it prevents the arch’s natural cushioning and spring function.
#4 thin Improves sensory feedback from feet to brain. The foot automatically senses information from the ground contact with each and every step. With this data, your brain responds accordingly. If the midsole is too thick the sensory feedback gets distorted – it would be equivalent to put ski gloves on the hands when typing on a keyboard.
#5 comfortable Anatomic fit. A relatively roomy toe box is preferable so the toes are not pinched together. A tight toe box will deform the foot over time and lead to all sorts of problems. We want the foot to be able to function exactly as nature intended it too.