Click here for a brief video from Dr. Mark Cucuzzella that demonstrates the principles of running economy:
First good form focus for efficient running...legs aligned...facing forward. Yes, I know, that sounds silly but it is easy to allow your legs to "wander," so your feet splay out or toe in. Easy drill for this...stand as you normally stand...for most of us our feet are not aligned straightly because our body compensates by turning them outward a bit to maintain our balance...if so, reach under your thigh with both hands, lift your leg up and set it back down so your foot faces straight forward. Weird, I know, but you are teaching your leg to pick up and land that way as you run. You can actually practice that to build muscle memory. Well, maybe not when you are around other people so you don't get odd looks.
Here’s a good practice drill for foot alignment from “Chi Marathon” author, Danny Dreyer, “To feel your feet pointing forward, go to a track and run with your feet landing on either side of a lane stripe.”
Second good form focus...chin up. Drill for this...Place your thumb and your middle finger on the end of your clavicle...you know, those two bumps on the end of those clavicle bones at the base of your neck. Then, place your forefinger at the bottom of your mandible (the middle bottom of your jaw). That's the position you'd like your chin to be in as you run. Don't jut your chin out...if you do, you'll feel a pull on the muscles on the back of your neck. Keep your chin and head up (almost like a marionette string is attached to your head).
Third good form focus…shoulders back…so that you are erect with your core aligned…your shoulders are over your hips not behind them.
Fourth good form focus…arms relaxed, naturally swinging closely alongside your body…think of a “T” across your breastbone…neither swing across the vertical stem nor above the horizontal top of the “T”…palms facing each other…hands loosely cupped (think “holding a butterfly”) with your thumbs resting lightly on your forefingers.
Fifth good form focus…lean forward from your ankles (not from your waist)…almost like skiing…so that you “fall forward” to begin your run. Keep aligned as you lean forward so that you efficiently begin to run. Practice this…you’ll notice that your knee will naturally come up to begin your run…you smoothly begin your “run motion.”
Good form is good form and the principles of running economy are the same whether you call it “Chi Running,” “Pose Running,” “Natural Running,” "Evolution Running," “Alexander Technique Running,” or “running in rhythm”...