I’m going to try something new, a video blog. In this blog, I’ll be going over running mechanics and how to work on them and fix them. Let me know what you think.

Training update: Things are back on track. Had two solid workouts last week, a 6mi tempo and 7x800m. On the 800’s we had about 1:45-2min rest and worked down from 2:16 to 2:10ish. Most were in the 2:11 range.

Running form from Steve Magness on Vimeo.

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    1. Craig on March 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm


      I really like this video as with most of the stuff you have to say about running. I do, however, have a few questions:

      I notice you put a lot of emphasis on running form, and that most of running form can be altered for the better through running, as opposed to drills and stuff. However, all of the (admittedly limited) information I’ve been able to get on Ethiopian stuff states that they do quite a lot of drills and plyo type work. If drills have little to no effect on running form, what benefits do you think they have?

      Also, regarding flexibility, I know that you’ve stated in other places (I forget if it was letsrun or dyestat) that there are studies that actually demonstrate that performance DECREASES with flexibility. I’ve always seen flexibility associated with higher resistance to injury. What place, if any, does flexibility have in training?


      Craig (LongRedLine4h)

    2. Gary on March 31, 2009 at 8:10 pm

      Enjoyed the video. Regarding the exaggerated forward lean, is the cue ’tilt hips forward’ (rather than back, or ‘sitting down’) useful?

      I’d like to see one with the camera following parallel to the runner – not sure how you’d do it – from a car? Also with the runner bigger in the screen.

    3. stevemagness on April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Gary- That would probably be a useful cue. Each runner responds differently to a cue. So you’ve pretty much got to go through a list of them until you find one that clicks in the athletes head. So, focusing on the hips for a lean problem would work well for some, while focusing on the upper body would work for someone else.

      Craig- Be careful in making the assumption that just because Fast people do it, it’s got to work. There are so many variables in a training program, that NOT everything in even the best training program works.

      That being said, I think drills can have their place and be beneficial. First, plyos are different that most drills. Plyos work for the most part. And many drills can have a plyo like effect. So that’s one benefit.

      Also, I think drills can be great for a dynamic warm up. It’s a way to get a pretty running specific dynamic warm up in.

      In addition, drills offer a proprioception component, which could be beneficial.

      Lastly, it’s been suggested that drills may help with strength issues. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know, but it seems plausible.

      Stretching and injury prevention is touchy subject. A couple scientific studies show that stretching doesn’t prevent injuries. But, it’s tough to get a definitive issue based on studies, because injuries aren’t something that you can predict or even know what there exact causes were.

      I think stretching post workout can be beneficial in both a cool-down type effect and maintaining a decent degree of flexibility.

      One thing that I think most people forget is that Stretching is NOT passive. It’s an active thing, even if you are just doing static stretching, it’s active.

    4. Kevin on November 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm

      steve, does form differentiate when running fast doing strides like this kid. and when your running say 8 minute pace for your distance days.

    5. stevemagness on November 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

      Kevin, yes it does change. However, the basic principles are all the same.

      The difference lies in that foot contact will be slightly different (but still not heel), and extension will be less which means that the leg recovery might not be as quick and the angle of the recovery leg won't be as small.

      Arm stroke will also be different.

      All that being said, the same principles apply. So the athlete will be trying to do almost the same thing in each case. The arm stroked and hip extension are going to be the keys in controlling pace.

      • Pedro M. Q. Aguiar on January 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

        Can you describe the difference in foot contact, i.e., how it changes w/ pace? Hip extension and arm stroke are easier to understand… Thanks!

    6. Anonymous on January 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      It is rather interesting for me to read that post. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

    7. Anonymous on January 26, 2010 at 6:10 am

      It is certainly interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. BTW, try to add some photos :).

    8. Matt on July 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm


      Would you be able (or willing) to post the El Guerrouj frame-by-frame picture you have?

    9. I must eat, sleep and run. The road to my soul. on August 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      You mentioned his good foot strike with a mid-foot or whole foot landing as you described it. Do you recommend a mid-foot strike or a forefoot strike or does it just depend on the individual runner in your opinion? I've run for years with a forefoot strike but I've been working on more of a whole foot/mid-foot strike and I'm noticing that it is much easier to run and reduces the stress on my Achilles tremendously.

      It seems the terms "forefoot," "mid-foot," "ball of foot", and "whole foot," may be confusing to some folks with further definition since there doesn't seem to be a universal definition.

    10. Anonymous on December 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

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    11. Aaron Young on February 17, 2016 at 4:42 am

      Coach Magness,

      Great video. Would it be possible for you to tell me where you got the frame by frame of El Guerrouj? I would love to have a copy!

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