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Orange County, California

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  • Greg Hodel

Can you improve running mechanics by walking?

It seems reasonable that walking could be a cause of poor running mechanics. If this is true, then maybe walking could also be used to improve running mechanics. The greatest benefit of using walking is the many low-intensity movements that can occur every day. Practicing good mechanics while running is limited to the amount of time that someone is able to run, but walking must be done everyday and can be done for longer periods of time.

So what can be done to retrain nerves and muscles while walking?


I think the most important change to make is to be able to pull the front foot slightly back before it contacts the ground. Start by only working on one side. Try to have the foot contact the ground closer to the point below the hips rather than further ahead of the body. Also try to work towards being able to contact with the ball of the foot rather than the heel. This may be awkward, so just try to contact flat footed rather than on the heel. After you are able to pull the foot in the air and then pull on the ground, start scissoring the legs by adding the hip flexor of the trail leg. Work on activating the right glutes and left hip flexor simultaneously. This will also bring the knees closer together at the time of ground contact further mimicking what needs to happen while running. Keep adding other components as these movements are coordinated and become automatic: a slight pull on the ground with the hamstring as the foot leaves the ground, connect right arm forward movement with right leg pull back, etc.

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