8 Quick Ways to Improve Your Running Stride

Here is a quick overview to know where you’re going and spur you to start now.

June 14, 2017
woman running stairs
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Adapted from Runner's World Your Best Stride

You know the science and necessary work that go into a better stride. But applying them quickly into your running routine is no easy feat. 

More: How to Start Running

Follow these steps to start striding better: 

trail running
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1. Add spice

Mix up your training paces, terrain, and shoes (here's what you need to know when buying new ones). The first step to running better is to let your body optimize itself. To do so, it needs to break out of ruts and be given options. If you do nothing else, you will be a better runner if you do this: Run often. At different paces, remembering how to set a realistic pace. Mostly easy.

More: 10 Reasons You Should Hire a Running Coach

Meb Keflezighi
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2. Get inspired

Watch videos of elite athletes like Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, Shalane Flanagan, Meb Keflezighi, and Galen Rupp. Pay attention to their posture, their hips, and the way the tops of their legs move.

sprinting
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3. Shift your stride

Work toward moving the power stroke of your stride behind you so that you push, not pull. To do this, work on these four areas.

1. Get tall. Assess your hip posture and start learning a new neutral balance.

2. Make sure you can move. Assess your hip extension and start stretching to improve your range of motion.

3. Build a better butt. Get your glutes activated and start strengthening them (just follow these steps to strengthening your body without working out).

4. Bring your arms back. Get your shoulders and arms back through stretching, mobilization, and cuing. 

More: The 12 Secrets to Running Success

foot strength
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4. Shore up the foundation

Improve your foot strength, mobility, and proprioception to improve your balance, pop off the ground faster, and reduce injury risk.

couple running
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5. Step quickly

Play with different cadences to find your optimal ranges at different speeds and to mix up how you move so that your body integrates new abilities.

More: How to Determine Your Max Heart Rate

barefoot running
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6. Mix it up more

Add drills to improve your range of motion and to recruit new muscles and patterns. Get off-road: Sprint down a mountain or up a hill. Get barefoot. Play Frisbee. Try a different brand and style of shoe. Push yourself a few times per week. Do intervals on grass. Give your body a chance to find and adopt better ways of moving.

strength training
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7. Get real

Integrate posture, mobility, and strength work into your daily life to reinforce new habits and build the postural endurance necessary to stay tall and balanced during all of your runs.

More: 5 Essential Strength Training Moves for Runners

running chicken costumes
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8. Be a child

In actions and attitude, be open to the new, physically and intellectually. It's harder to make changes after age 30—so don't act your age. Relearn how to play like a kid again. Don't be afraid to look and act goofy. Let people see you sweat, get out of your comfort zone, be willing to fail. Keep learning. Be open to new ideas, even those that contradict what you think you know.

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Tags: running