What is Natural Running?

Since running became a sport coaches and trainers have stressed the importance of proper running form as the key to faster times. Though it has always been understood that proper form is the key, until recently there was much debate as to what is proper form.

The concept of running naturally, often reffered to as barefoot style running, or simply barefoot running technique, does not actually require the runner to be unshod, however unshod runners are often more easily able to apply the concepts of natural running.

Natural running incorporates a running form in which the each foot strike lands directly beneath the runners center of mass. If this is accomplished correctly, such a stride will manifest itself by allowing the runner to softly land each stride touching down first with the forefoot or midfoot, rather than the heels.

Though natural running methods such as the Pose Method have been around since the 70’s, in recent years natural running is getting fast becoming the accepted standard for running guru’s. This is due in part by the increase in university studies concerning natural running technique. Also responsible for the rise in awareness is the popularity of companies such as Chi Running that have helped thousands of people run more efficiently and injury free with their trademarked variations on natural running technique.

Though individual companies that teach natural running technique under various names,  may prefer to stress the differences in their approaches, what is really more important is the tenets that they have in common.

  1. Land each stride underneath the center of mass rather than in front of the body.
  2. Strike the ground at the midfoot or forefoot rather than the heel.
  3. With each stride, the runner should lift their leg to complete the cycle rather than pushing of the ground
  4. Run with an upright posture and a slight forward lean.
  5. Regardless of pace, maintain a high cadence, with a shortened stride.

Please explore all of these topics further to find your optimal running form.

Here are some videos from those on the forefront of Natural Running.

Natural Running From Newton

Natural running From Merrell

Chi Running


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