Long distance running technique

Anyone can learn to run for a long time and it’s safe for their health, which means it’s good. But for someone it will take two months, and for someone it can take six months.

With good running technique, you can run long distances with confidence and perform well. Leonid Shvetsov talks about the correct technique for running long distances.

Leonid Shvetsov is a Russian athlete, trainer, current record holder for the most massive super marathon The Comrades (5:24.49, 2008), and participant in the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games in the marathon.

The human body is designed for two types of movement: walking and running. All the rest, including swimming or skiing, enjoyed by many, are not
natural movements, they must be taught. And we can run and walk births are our natural movements. But our way of life, and that including shoes, disrupts our natural reflexes.

Running right is run for a long time and without injury. What if a man ran, and his muscles don’t hurt, so he did it right. Purpose of long journeys – run as long and as fast as possible. A spot – save energy.

5 basic rules of long-distance running technique

Leonid Shvetsov adheres to the same point of view as well-known expert in running physiology Lee Sakbi, whom the athlete considers his teacher. Here are 5 fundamental rules that guide them.

1. Watch body position

The slower you run, the straighter your body should be. If the speed increases, a maximum slope of 5 degrees is allowed. The shoulders are relaxed and relaxed, the head is an extension of the body, the eyes are straight.

2. Quick and easy removal of the foot from the stand

A long run is not associated with a powerful repulsion, which is the case with a sprint.

3. Land on the forefoot

Lifting the foot off the support slightly near the center of gravity results in a soft landing, without swinging the leg forward.

To increase running efficiency, you need to place the foot correctly during the stance phase. The foot should land softly: first you need to put on the front part, then gradually the rest. If this is observed, the rhythm and speed will be maintained, which will allow you to run for a long distance.

4. Increase the pace

The step rate or cadence should be around 170-180 steps per minute. For someone running in shoes with lots of cushioning, the cadence is much lower – 160 steps or less per minute. This means that the runner has a big muscular effort and a long stance phase.

It is not good insofar as the muscular effort causes a great expenditure of energy. And it is also traumatic: the muscles are attached to the bones with the help of a tendon, and a strong muscular effort causes excessive stretching. If you run like this day after day, it can cause inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

When you run in shoes with strong cushioning, the elastic tension energy is not used. With the physiological stretching of tendons and ligaments, the runner uses the energy of elastic stretching and compression. This energy is used to absorb the shock of landing and the subsequent propulsion of the body forward. Propulsion is passive thrust.

5. Learn to relax

All parts of our body need to contract and relax during running. First, the shoulder girdle and the arms. But it is important to be able to relax your legs as well.

All of these listed points can be called the basis of good long-distance running technique.

Influence of sneakers and gadgets on good running technique

The type of running shoes also affects correct running technique. Today, many companies produce shoes with a high degree of cushioning, allowing the runner to land on the heel. And landing on the heel leads to a host of other errors: forward kicks, excessive torso lean, excessive muscle exertion, high energy consumption, loss of momentum, and overexertion.

Gadgets can also help control certain points of correct running technique now. So you can see your cadence or stride length in almost any running app. They also display the number of calories burned during the run, the pace of your run, distance, heart rate and total training time. With an app on your phone that syncs with your watch, you can track your progress, analyze your recovery and predict future running results.

How to breathe well while running

For long-distance runner, it is important to control their breathing. Breathing should be combined – through the mouth and nose. The rhythm of breathing in long-distance running depends on the speed of movement.

At low running speed, a respiratory cycle is carried out for 6 steps, with an increase in speed – for 4 steps. Breathing is done through the mouth, the exhalation is accentuated, not the inspiration.

How to improve your running technique

It is best to study running technique with a trainer, at least remotely. It is necessary to spend a lot of time and effort to perform special running exercises, as well as the specific strength of the runner, the mobility of the joints, especially the hip, ankle and toe joints . Particular attention is paid to strengthening and developing the flexibility of the foot. Without that, it’s hard to count on an injury-free race.

More often than not, people run badly because of overstuffed shoes. It “tricks” our foot proprioceptors and thus alters our natural reflexes. Another reason is lifestyle (physical inactivity), weak muscles in general and weak feet in particular.

On long runs, to increase efficiency, it is important to monitor the amount of vertical oscillation, it should be low, less than 9% of the stride length. You can find out by using a sports watch that gives information about the vertical ratio. Economical vertical oscillation reduces flight and downtime. All of this helps maintain running speed with a slight drop in power.

The effectiveness of long and extra long strokes also depends on the position of the hands. It is necessary to bend the arm at the elbow at a right angle or less. When the arm moves back, the elbow should also be directed towards this place and outwards.

How long does it take to set up running technique

Developing and consolidating good running technique takes an average of 10 weeks to six months. However, even top runners periodically work to maintain optimal running technique throughout their careers.

Each person has their own pace of learning running technique. For some it may take several workouts, and for others it may take several months. But as soon as you master the technique and stick to it in your workouts, then running will become enjoyable and useful for you.


Running is the most accessible and cheapest sport: it helps to lose weight, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, fights depression
and stress, and improves metabolism and general well-being. This is an incredible freedom and an opportunity to be alone with yourself or, conversely, in the company of like-minded people. By training in the correct running technique, you are laying a solid foundation that will allow you to run with pleasure, for a long time and without injury.