Want a Natural Running Form?
Learn How to Run as
Nature Intended!

What is a natural running form? Natural running is running the way nature intended us to run--easily, efficiently and injury free.

Humans have been running naturally since the prehistoric days. If running is such a natural movement, why are so many runners injured each year?

Natural Running Form

Historically and prior to the 1970's, we ran barefoot or with minimal foot protection. We ran with a forefoot or mid-foot strike landing below our center of mass and with a high cadence or quick turnover. This is how our body moves when unshod.

In his 2010 research study, Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman proved that we run more efficiently and with less impact in bare feet. Unfortunately, the modern running shoe has altered the way many runners move, which is in many cases, an inefficient and injury prone posture.


Heel striking, which requires the foot to land in front of the body, increases impact force on your heels, knees, hips and lower back. It can also cause excessive rotation of your ankles, lower leg, upper leg, hips and spine. A heel strike stops the forward motion on impact making it necessary to use excessive muscular force to move forward.

The effort required to push off hard puts your calf muscles, hamstrings, lower leg, ankles, plantar fascia and Achilles tendon at risk of fatigue, strain or injury. (Natural Running, Danny Abshire, 2010).

Aspects of Natural Running Form

A natural running form that is smooth and efficient includes the following aspects:

  • An upright posture
  • A slight forward lean from the ankles to facilitate forward propulsion
  • A compact arm swing in which the arms are held at 90 degrees or slightly less
  • A low-impact, forefoot or mid-foot landing
  • Soft and springs steps
  • A high cadence or quick turnover rate (180 steps per minute)
  • The foot lands below center of mass with leg under hip -- do not over stride!
  • Knees are slightly bent
  • Heels move towards butt on follow through

Natural running is an enjoyable and euphoric activity. It allows us to run for long periods easily and without pain, making the best use of our running economy. Developing a natural springy gait and using elastic recoil will improve our running economy. We can use our legs and feet to recycle energy rather than using all our body's energy to move us forward.

We can accomplish this by fully utilizing the Achilles tendon, the plantar fascia and ligaments in our feet and ankles. Together they work like a powerful spring and greatly reduce the amount of energy required to run.

In the following natural running video, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, Director of the Natural Running Center, demonstrates elastic recoil and efficient running economy:

As mentioned in the above video, form drills are an effective way to improve your natural running form. Do them several times a week. 

Try the drills in the above video and the drills in the following video (also by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella):

For more drills, check out the video on how to change your running foot strike.

Barefoot Running or running in minimalist shoes can improve your running form. Without heavy cushioned shoes, you will be able to receive sensory feedback through your feet, helping you to find your natural running form.

Minimalist shoes or barefoot running shoes are flat with very little cushioning support. They are made from light-weight materials, have a flexible sole and should not restrict your foot. A minimalist shoe is essential for natural running.

You might also like these

More related pages:

Barefoot Running Form

 Improve Your Running Form

Running With the Whole Body


Back to top of Natural Running Form



FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying  purchases. Learn more.


Comments! Questions?

Don’t see the comments box below? Log in to your Facebook account, give FB cookie consent if requested, then return to this page and refresh it.

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment or question in the box below.

If you like this page, please share it below or add your comments.



Solo Build It!

Recent Articles

  1. How to Avoid a Stress Fracture Injury!

    May 10, 22 06:53 AM


    How to avoid a stress fracture injury and what to do if you have one. It needs to be identified quickly so you can get back running sooner.

    Read More

  2. Happy to be running on a holiday resort again!

    Apr 27, 22 07:26 AM


    It was interesting to be running in Sharm El Sheikh again after the pandemic. The resorts are beautiful here but signs of economic depression caused by the pandemic and airport security concerns prio…

    Read More

  3. Got black toenails from running?

    Apr 19, 22 11:03 AM


    Got Black Toenails from Running? Learn how to treat and prevent them!

    Read More

  4. Make Your Own Natural Race Fuel

    Apr 05, 22 11:41 AM


    As runners we need to fuel our bodies with energy boosting foods and fortifying drinks to keep us going strong and properly hydrated. Natural race fuel is a healthier and cheaper solution to provide…

    Read More

  5. How to Overcome Tiredness While Running

    Mar 27, 22 12:51 PM


    Has this ever happened to you? You have just started running and you realize that you feel really tired. Your body just doesn't want to move. You feel heavy, running feels very difficult and you don…

    Read More

  6. Use Quantum Physics to Run Injury Free!

    Mar 23, 22 01:22 PM


    Discoveries in quantum physics can be used to help us create a more desirable reality including running injury free. Find out how.

    Read More

  7. The Best Online Running Training Camp!

    Mar 11, 22 02:12 PM


    What if you could run without fighting your body or feeling hobbled by pain? Imagine instead that when you run your body feels smooth, flowing, and free of unwanted tension. And imagine a way of runn…

    Read More

  8. Use Active Isolated Stretching to prevent running injuries!

    Mar 09, 22 10:28 AM


    Are your stretches dynamic or static? Active Isolated Stretching promotes dynamic stretching when the muscle is relaxed rather than contracted. Evidence indicates that only a relaxed muscle can be st…

    Read More

  9. The Core Action Program for Runners and Triathletes

    Feb 27, 22 12:13 PM


    The Core Action Program for Runners and Triathletes helps you master the fundamentals of comfortable, healthy, efficient natural running form. This program is for runners who want to learn to run hea…

    Read More

  10. Running in Puerto Vallarta

    Feb 22, 22 10:08 AM

    Running in Puerto Vallarta and Boca de Tomatlan can be challenging. This is where I ran while on vacation.

    Read More