Overcoming Poor Running Technique

Learning how to run properly after years of poor running isn’t an easy task. You’re unraveling a nasty habit that wasn’t created overnight. It takes constant repetition of drill work over at least a six-week period to truly hone in an athlete’s form. You must get hands on feedback as well as consistent video footage to ensure change. The intangible aspects include receiving “buy in” from the traditional endurance athlete. Technique has never been the focus. Distance and volume has taken precedence. Switching the mindset is step number one. After that, it comes down to proprioception. Can the athlete feel what you’re talking about? Do they begin to understand strong running position over weak?

As someone who has coached hundreds of athletes on running form, it has never been a one-size fits all approach. At Power Speed Endurance Clinics, we encourage athletes to connect with the drills that make the most difference for them. Throw out the ones that trip you up. It’s about creating awareness and uncovering a feeling. The book of running drills is not short of options, but what happens when an athlete simply cannot connect the dots? Constant video and cueing just doesn’t seem to do the trick?

Like any good coach, you need to keep working until the light bulb turns on. You have to get tactical, and I suggest using a few of these insider technique tactics…

The ShoeCue

This is the only insole replacement I would ever recommend for a runner. The ShoeCue is a smart product fulfilling a NEED for runners, helping them understand right from wrong.

Over the last month, I’ve messed around with these in my warm-ups and drill work, receiving immediate feedback from the insole. Obviously, I’m not a heel striker by any means, but the smooth bumps on the heel let you know where you’re landing. It is the perfect tool for someone first trying to regain proprioception.

Foot strike is a result of remaining in the proper position and successfully pulling verses pushing, so we often don’t cue it as coaches. However, imagine something that buzzes you when you complete an incorrect movement pattern? The ShoeCue does just that without punishment.

My recommendation is not to get too crazy with these insoles (such as run with them in a marathon), but use them as a training tactic. Implement them with your drill work and during your warm-up runs. It is a quick way to have you or athletes explore right from wrong. Not something to rely on, but certainly a quick and seamless way to transform the most wrecked running form.


When time allows, I’ll have athletes go barefoot and video their running form. Typically, it’s a nice transition on day two to show them what happens when we take the cushion and impeding shoe away. Immediately the feet start landing further underneath the hips, form instantly clears up, and they receive feedback.

If you run two hundred meters barefoot, you quickly realize what’s right from wrong and where your feet are designed to land. You instinctively make the correction. This can be a huge sell for athletes and becomes an outstanding way to rebuild foot strength. Think of implementing this with your or athletes from the very beginning. Find a safe surface to run six to eight fifty meter repeats and progress the volume week after week for the first six weeks. Monitor you or your athlete’s tissues as the volume builds and space out the sessions. Getting up to ten hundred meter repeats at smooth pace usually does the trick. Remember you’re using this as a technique tactic not for developing cardio-respiratory endurance.

Jump Rope

Let me ask you, can you heel strike when jumping rope? How about land outside your general center of mass (hips)? Jumping rope is a flipping fantastic technique tactic. It puts together every drill we preach and doesn’t allow you to proceed unless you’re hitting the correct positions. Although it requires requisite single under abilities and a little bit of coordination, practicing this one will do wonders for your technique.

As one of our most advanced drills, I recommend throwing this one in after learning or teaching a few of the basic running drills. This becomes a great compliment to a warm-up, and it’s easy to layer up the difficult, such as running with the rope. Check out this video for the full breakdown…

Well there you go, a few technique tactics to implement in your own training or with your athletes. Don’t ever believe that one drill is the end all be all for creating change with running form. It comes down to learning teaching and uncovering awareness more than the actual drill itself. Create the connection and always go back to the basics when it starts to feel off.

Sleep Well – Part 2

Sleep Hygiene

Last week you learned about why sleep is so important to your performance, health and wellness. This week, I’m going to cover exactly HOW to get a good night sleep.

  • Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time as much as possible every day of the week (including weekends). This will help keep your body’s clock regular.
  • Ensure a good sleep environment; Room temperature should be between 18.5 and 23 degrees Celsius, (65F to 73F, with men generally liking it a little cooler). The room should be as dark as possible. Use blackout curtains or blinds, cover up any standby lights on electronic devices or better still, get them out of the room. An eye mask can assist with ensuring a dark environment and is something I have used for several years.
  • Avoid electronic devices, especially smartphones, most e-readers, tablets and laptops for at least 1-hour prior to bed. As I wrote in Part 1, these devices emit short wavelength blue light. This stimulates your brain and prevents the release of melatonin. I can’t recommend enough, steering clear of these devices before bed. Just keep them out of the bedroom, full stop.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex (and when staying in a hotel, work at the desk and not in the bed). This eliminates non-sleep-related associations with the bed.
  • Develop a soothing and consistent nighttime routine. Take an easy walk, take a hot bath, read (fiction) for a while and then go to bed. Following this sequence every night sets up a behavior chain that prepares the body for sleep. I have read a fiction book, as non-fiction will stimulate your brain more, every night for around half an hour for the past couple of years. It’s now part of my routine, and I’ve been able to work my way through some amazing books.
  • Resolve daily dilemmas before going to bed. If something’s on your mind, decide a course of action, write it down, and then forget it until tomorrow.
  • Once in bed, avoid watching the clock, even if you have to put it in a drawer. Worrying about what time it is will only create sleep-robbing anxiety, and it won’t add another minute to the night.
  • Avoid all caffeinated drinks; coffee, tea, colas energy drinks and caffeinated foods in the afternoon or evening. Caffeine’s stimulant properties affect some people even 12 hours after consumption. And don’t forget that some medications interfere with sleep.
  • Don’t consume alcohol within 4 hours of bedtime. Although alcohol can effectively promote sleep, the sleep is highly disturbed because of alcohol’s effect on sleep architecture.
  • Stay away from big meals late in the evening. While the food may be great at the time, subsequent discomfort from a heavy meal will have a negative effect on sleep quality.
  • Lastly, if you can’t fall asleep within approximately 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing for a while. Then, when you feel sleepy again, give the bedroom another try.

A big thanks to one of my athletes, Ian Dunican of Sleep4Performance. As weird as it sounds, I learned everything I know about sleep from Ian. The knowledge I gained from Ian was instrumental in this and my previous sleep article.

Sleep Well – Part 1

In 2012, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a new policy stating that nighttime light exposure is hazardous to human health.

“The primary human concerns with nighttime lighting include disability glare and various health effects,” a summary of the AMA’s policy read. “Among the latter are potential carcinogenic effects related to melatonin suppression, especially breast cancer.”

Even low levels of light, the report said, could suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that’s secreted at night, which signals for our bodies to sleep and can also suppress the growth of tumors.

Modern day life, with our electronic devices, fluorescent lighting and busy schedules, can mean many of you are struggling to get sufficient sleep. Continue reading “Sleep Well – Part 1”

Before You Switch Run Technique: 10 Things to Know

Updated: February 5, 2024

1. You can’t keep your regular weekly mileage.

When first switching run techniques, this is a hard one for endurance athletes to understand. Our athletes often say (with a significant degree of exasperation, mind you!) in the beginning, “Wait, I can’t do my weekend long run?” Yes. That’s true. Let’s take a comparison with lifting weights. When you learn to squat for the first time, is it intelligent for you to load a bunch of weight on the barbell and just go? Of course not because squatting is a skill, one that can always be worked on and refined over time. Running is also a skill. Running, like all human movements, has a defined starting and ending point. The awareness of the in between is the difficult part in running. Immediately ramping up volume will not allow you to keep your form. This will lead to misunderstandings regarding the skill and possibly injury. If you’re seriously treating running as a skill, you have to back down your weekly mileage tremendously until you get it right. Continue reading “Before You Switch Run Technique: 10 Things to Know”

Gravity and Movement

Updated: 5 Feb 2024

What is the most important factor in movement? If you come from a traditional fitness community, you might be tempted to say “strength”, or “power”, or even “motivation”. In actuality, it’s gravity.

Our long relationship with gravity.

Gravity is one of the first challenging forces we encounter as we grow up, since literally all movement is directed by it. Newborns trying to crawl, trying to stand, or trying to walk are facing it head on. Remember that movement, in essence, is the shifting of body weight in order to change from one position to another. What are you working against in order to complete these shifts in body weight? Gravity. Continue reading “Gravity and Movement”

Silent Running

By Brian Mackenzie

Ever heard the saying, “Never heard them coming”? While this may apply to many things, most of which being stealth or under the radar, this could not be more applicable to human movement. Running plays one of the most functional roles in movement. Especially for Military or Law Enforcement Personnel whose lives may depend on this fact.

If you show up to any foot race, you will get a greater understanding of this quickly. Continue reading “Silent Running”