Lean Better

A good forward lean is a key element of healthy, efficient–and, if you wish, fast–running form. However learning to lean isn’t always as simple as just intending to do it.

Calf, ankle, and foot tightness strongly interfere with the ability to lean forward. Runners with any difficulty leaning should always do a dynamic calf warmup pre-run. I’ve developed a warmup adapted from eccentric calf exercises used in achilles tendon rehabilitation, and my students have been using it with success for many years. In fact, even runners who don’t have particularly tight calves find it helps the entire body move better from the first step of each run.

If you’re not used to leaning forward when you run, experimenting with the process of leaning to initiate running and stop running is also key to mastering the lean. I created the Stop/Start Game to help you do this. It’s a short drill that can be done either pre- or post-run on a regular basis to help you feel, become comfortable with, and learn to control your lean.

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