• Geoff

Run Form Focus - The Lean

Updated: Jun 22, 2021


Van Run Club Proper Run Form, Leaning Forward

One of the main principles of the current proper run form theory is called the Lean. This is where you lean from your ankles and fall forward. The idea is that when you fall, your legs will naturally come out in front of you and hold you up. As you maintain this lean, your feet will continuously fall in front of you holding you up as you move forward. Gravity is doing most of the work rather than you pushing off your back feet and bounding forward. Bounding and pushing off may give you quicker speed in the short run, but it requires more energy and when you run longer distances, that means you are not as efficient with your energy.


It is important to note that the aspects I talk about in the Run Form Series are all theories of the best way to run. Try them out and see if it works for you. Who knows what the run theory will be in 5, 10, 15 years from now. This is part of the reason I emphasize that you learn to listen to your body. If/when the run form theory changes again, you’ll have the skills to try out the new theory and see if it works better for you.


Elements of the Lean


The lean is like a falling forward plank. To maintain that plank you need to engage our core, back and shoulders properly to support that continuous fall forward. See the previous blogs for explanations of engagement and exercises to activate, grow and coordinate the muscle groups.


When I start my run, I like to:

  1. Imagine that there is a string that is going from my feet straight up through the top of my skull pulling me straight up. This allows me to stand tall.

  2. I engage my core.

  3. Lean from my ankles.

  4. This should create that continuous fall forward.


Different Leans


What I have found is that we have a tendency to lean from either our shoulders or our hips. When you lean from your shoulders yo