Proper running form and RPM???


Proper running form + RPM :

"Dr Bakken,

I read a book call "Born to Run." The book constantly referred to proper running form so I began my research and quest for more efficient running. I am running my first marathon, the Naha Marathon, in Dec 12 and plan to meticulously execute your 3:00 plan beginning Aug. So I've got two months to work on my stride decision (long fluid- heel striking OR short smooth- forefoot striking). In my research many coaches and runners stated one's SPM (strides per minute) should be 180-200. My current SPM with my normal stride is about 156. I experimented with a short stride/forefoot placement and could only get up to 172 and really couldn't imagine being able to turnover my strides any faster or even shorten them much more. Although my feet and legs felt really good, my breathing was totally laboring and my heart rate was higher. The times were relatively close between the different forms. Do you have any recommendations? Should I use the new form and the breathing and heart rate will adjust or continue my normal form? BTW a couple stats: my last (and first) half marathon was 1 Apr 2012/ 1:29 and my PFT (physical fitness test) 3mile portion yielded me a 15:58. I'm 42yrs old and in the US Marine Corps so I am accustomed on focusing but I'm not sure what direction I should take here.

I know this is not exactly "marathon training" but for me and probable many others a serious question to consider when you when to maximize your efforts to achieve the best results.

Thank you very much.


Answer: Hi Clenn and thanks for your question.

Most studies show absolutely no effect on consciously changing running form incl RPM (rather the opposite - it gets worse by doing so. )

There may be correlations in terms of RPM and running form/results but that is rather the result of a natural pattern for those runners or/in combination with the training done/level they are at - rather on something you want to do just by working on it specifically!

I wish you all the best,

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