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Older Yet Faster Publications Pty Ltd

ABN 59 602 112 256


Review by Athletics Coach

(18 Jul 2019)

Many thanks to the UK Athletics Coach who reviewed our book this week - it is very satisfying to have other coaches on board with our ideas :-) The best practical guide to developing optimal running form

OYF Rules for efficient running

The OYF Rules emphasise the important aspects of what we are teaching.

We have extracted them from the book and list them below ...

The ten OYF Rules shown below, appear in order throughout the book as a reminder of the important things to remember while readers are changing technique and transitioning to efficient (and fast) running.

Part of the underlying reason for these is the wide-spread mis-information about the physics of good running technique - things like:

  • Running at a set cadence
  • Lifting knees
  • Forefoot striking
  • Minimum vertical oscillation (rather than optimal vertical oscillation)
  • Constantly 'falling' to move forwards (physically impossible)

Many people fall into these and other traps as they do not have the knowledge, or the inclination to examine these suggestions critically.

'The truth is not by popular vote!'

We, on the other hand, have questioned everything and used constant feedback from thousands of clients and readers to refine what we say and do, culminating in the second edition of the book.

See also Articles (in the menu on the left)

OYF Rule #1

Get a side-view video regularly

You might think your foot is already landing close to under your hips, but you will find that in most instances it certainly is not. The only way to identify the extent of your over-stride is to take a side-view video. A front or back-view video will not show the over-stride and are largely irrelevant.

Ask a friend to take a video of you running at constant speed. Once you have the video, choose a frame where your foot has full pressure against the ground. Draw a vertical line through the centre of that ground-contact point. If your hips are behind the line, then you are leaning back and braking. Compare your results with Illustration 18, which shows perfectly aligned landing and the aligned take-off position that will produce it.

Continue to take side-view videos regularly throughout your transition.

OYF Rule #2

Stand and land aligned

The aim is for your spine to be vertical, which means you will engage the postural muscles of your stomach (abdominals), back (erector spinae) and bottom (gluteals). You should be in this upright stance whenever you are standing, walking or running and it can only be achieved by wearing thin, flat, flexible shoes. When running, you can only land aligned if you have such shoes. This rule applies to shoes that you wear during the day, and is especially relevant to children, whose feet are still developing.

By following this rule, you will build up all your muscles in the right proportions—calves, glutes, back, stomach, neck—every muscle you use will build as required. If you have spent decades in shoes that are raised up at the heel, then your muscles will have developed (and under-developed) to accommodate your non-vertical stance, and it will take some time for your body to re-adjust.

OYF Rule #3

Over-pronation is a symptom of over-striding

Your foot pronates throughout the whole landing. When you over-stride, landing takes much longer than normal and this causes over-pronation.

Blocking pronation (the foot rolling inward on landing) with supportive shoes or orthotics will force you to continue to damage your body with high-impact landings, and put undue stress across your whole body.

By following Keith’s Lessons in this book, you will reduce any over-pronation you have by decreasing your over-stride. Being upright (OYF Rule #2) will strengthen your feet and your glutes and make sure over-pronation is never a problem again.

OYF Rule #4

Bounce and fly

Once you have mastered good running technique, you will naturally run faster and you will be surprised that your training times improve with no extra effort.

By simply concentrating on a balanced landing, you will continually reduce your braking and at the same time make yourself strong in the right places. This will make you land well and close to vertically aligned, with all your postural muscles naturally engaged. Then, once landed, the elasticity in your feet and legs will bounce you to a long stride and make you run faster.

OYF Rule #5

Spring, don't swing

By ‘spring, don’t swing’ we mean do not swing your legs, or try to lift your knees or feet.

The 'spring' part comes from the elastic energy in an unrestricted foot and Achilles tendon, and is the result of landing balanced. The spring produces an immediate take-off in a slightly more forwards direction. In efficient running, getting airborne is natural and seems effortless (OYF Rule #4).

The more you need to push off when at constant speed, the more you will have braked upon landing. However, the best runners have very little 'drive': they quickly 'bounce' their body off their whole foot after landing near-vertically aligned with minimal braking..

OYF Rule #6

Fix the problem not the symptom

There is only one thing you need to fix in running: your over-stride.
Simply by reducing this, you will learn to land more balanced and you will start to fix everything else. This is because almost all injuries, and lack of speed, are due to your foot landing too far in front of you.

Trying to fix the symptom of over-striding with artificial supports, orthotics, 'special' shoes and so on, will just obscure the problem, allowing you to run badly for longer. You will continue to suffer.

OYF Rule #7

Hips first—your foot will follow

The majority of runners lift or swing their legs forwards, which causes their hips to be behind their foot when they land. The way of overcoming this problem is to ‘re-program’ your brain to focus on your back foot catching up with your hips, rather than advancing your front foot.

The position you are looking for once you have fully landed is the position in the middle: neither leaning forwards or back. Don't make the mistake of pushing your hips forwards—just leave your foot on the ground and let your hips freely move ahead.

Using a side-view video (OYF Rule #1), compare your results with Illustration 18, which shows perfectly aligned landing and the aligned take-off position that will produce it. To keep a check on your progress and to make sure you are running with good form, continue to take a side-view video regularly.

OYF Rule #8

Don't try to control your feet

A good runner’s feet will rise off the ground—but are not lifted—and land in a particular way—but not forced. Similarly, your feet should rise naturally and there should be an almost instant whole-foot landing that is observed and felt, but not controlled. This will happen when you land balanced.


  • Don't try to place your feet on the ground.
  • Don't lift your feet.
  • Don't try to land on any part of your foot: inside, outside, toes or heel.
  • Don't extend your stride length by reaching forwards with your feet.
  • Don't try to reduce your over-stride by doing faster, shorter steps.

OYF Rule #9

Aim for balanced whole-foot landings

A whole-foot landing is an important step in getting a balanced landing, as it gives you good feedback on your technique. You should feel even pressure between your forefoot and your heel. Bring your awareness to this contact of your foot on the ground until you have managed to correct your technique.

At low speed, your heel will land firmly on the ground; you will feel a harsh, jarring sensation (think of a kangaroo hopping slowly). Once you speed up to about 6 minutes per kilometre, your landings will be much softer. You will eventually find the speed where it is even more efficient and you get a ‘floating’ feeling. For us, this starts at about 5 minutes per kilometre. Running starts to feel almost effortless as we approach 4 minutes per kilometre.

In every run you will be a little off-balance at times—even the best runners won’t manage a perfect landing every time. You might feel the ball of your foot or your heel touch a little too firmly; but, on average, you should feel your whole foot giving you complete support. However, do not make the mistake of ‘placing’ your foot on the ground or you will over-stride.

OYF Rule #10

Drills and exercises should directly relate to the running action

If you are trying to strengthen or rehabilitate after injury, then the most useful drills and exercises are those that most closely resemble the running action—many do not. For instance, glute-strengthening exercises should be done on one leg, in a standing position. Otherwise you are not being specific enough for strengthening the muscles you need for running. Use drills where you can land whole-foot as much as possible and don't skid when you land.

Illustration 18

(Referred to in text above)

Illustration 18: Good technique

Copyright 2014 Ainsley Knott Illustrations

Illustration 18: When running with good technique, the whole body leaves the ground. Note that this illustration is based on a runner travelling at 20 kilometres per hour, which causes the heel to spring up closer to the hips than at lower speeds.

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