How to run

Legs of a man running in the rain

You run funny.

We see a lot of you out there pounding pavement, tearing up the roads, running hard, putting in blood burning efforts in pursuit of betterment, and we love it. Whether you’re doing zone 2-style, long, slow runs or running like the wind, we’re glad you’re out there. We’re proud of you, but… most of you run funny and it’s setting you back in lots of ways, from setting you up for aches, pains, and injuries, to slowing you down dramatically. Worse yet, there’s an entire industry that was developed around manufacturing shoes that accommodate your goofy gait and compensate for your ergonomically unfriendly stride and allow you to keep running that way. Oftentimes this exacerbates the problem and it will always lead to injury eventually. That will suck the fun out of running and it will render many of you afraid of running once you heal.

You probably don’t have bad knees.

There is a place for running in your training. Running isn’t just for skinny people and, when incorporated into your regimen properly, it won’t compromise your musculature. It will make it better. Even powerlifter Mark “Smelly” Bell has taken up running in pursuit of health and better fitness. Former World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall runs. No matter your pursuit, running and sprinting will improve your life, fitness, and performance. It’s a part of our fitness programming. A lot of people, however, say they can’t run because they have bad knees or hips or something. In nearly every case, that’s just not true. Your knees hurt because you’re running wrong. Maybe you run with the initial impact on your heels, with a straight knee out in front of you instead of a mid to forefoot strike with a bent knee under your hip creating shock absorption in the ankle and knee, eliminating the jarring. Maybe your hips are too loose and you run with your feet splayed out. Maybe you’re pigeon toed. Maybe you over or under pronate. These are but a few of the aforementioned goofy gaits that will set you up for injury… and of course your knees hurt. 

So before you say you can’t run because you “have bad” knees, consider your gait. Ryan Hall, one of the fastest dudes ever to do it, gives a basic running lesson here. He has an impressive physique by the way. Homeboy is jacked. 

Nutrition matters.

This holds true for all athletic pursuits, but might be more evident when it comes to high impact endeavors like running. If you’re not getting collagen and essential fats in your diet, your joints won’t have the necessary lubrication and protection to contend with high impact activities and mechanical loading. Learn more about that here.

Your shoes.

There are running stores that have popped up everywhere. These stores put you on a treadmill and analyze your gait using cameras. They show you the angle of your hips, knees, foot strikes, etc. Then they try to sell you big pillowy, foamy shoes that have extra foam in areas that allow you to continue to run the way you’re running. This is fundamentally flawed for 2 reasons. 

  1. The treadmill. You can’t possibly get an accurate gait analysis while running on a device that has you doing nothing more than picking up your feet and putting them back down exactly where they were whilst the road moves beneath you. There’s nothing natural about that.
  2. Big, fat-soled shoes that allow you to continue to run wrong will, as we mentioned above, lead to injury as you continue to put undue stress on your joints. The solution, instead is in the opposite vain:

The solution.

First, learn the basic form. Running is a skill just like any other sport and there is a right way to do it. This right way (see Ryan Hall video above) will increase your comfort and your speed. Practice this technique on grass or sand… barefoot. You’ll get immediate feedback from your body as to whether or not you’re doing it correctly as any flaws will be instantly exposed and you’ll be amazed when you make the necessary adjustments how easy running is. Then when you do put shoes on, choose a minimalist, neutral shoe that doesn’t accommodate your flaws. 

While we’re talking about gear… ditch the gear. You don’t need it. Belts full of gels and other sugary substances, headphones emanating EMFs right into your brain, special socks with magnets and copper, and all the other expensive nonsense that will not make you better or faster or healthier… don’t buy it. It’s all a waste of money. Just strap on your shoes and run. 

We want to see you pounding the pavement for a long time, well into old age, hips forward, with a forefoot, front-facing strike, relaxed shoulders, driving your elbows back, kicking ass. So learn to run. 

We can help:

For more information on how to have comfort and longevity while pushing your limits, email our smooth-running performance experts. 

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