Below identifies key workouts and tips that helped Mo Farah polish his forefoot running style.
How to Run Forefoot Like Mo Farah
1. Reduce Ground Contact Time
Have someone yell command-based instructions at you while you run. Trust me, it works.
“Pick up your feet!” or “up, up, up..” are the verbal commands most successful in increasing flight time and are used by Alberto Salazar and Dr. Romonov of Pose Running.
2. Hamstring Range of Motion
Better hamstring range of motion helps the foot pop off the ground, giving you better propulsion and prevents a ‘tight stride’. Never stretch statically! Knee lift drills and eccentric squatting are the proven methods. Below shows Genzebe Dibaba doing knee lifts that necessitate hamstring flexibility:
3. Increase Cadence
Increasing cadence requires that the leg does not trail behind. To improve this, hopping, bounding and double-footed jumps are commonly used. Drills that improve ankle dorsiflexion are also effective — Note: at touchdown in forefoot running, the ankle is plantarflexed, not dorsiflexed, however the ankle dorsiflexes when the foot is removed during stance — Ankle dorsiflexion exercises improve retraction of the trail leg. Examples are hurdle drills pulling the trail leg over and pulling the toe back. Sprint drills are also great for delivering high cadence.
4. No Over Striding
Downhill running is the best solution — although do so with caution because downhill running can be harmful if you over do it or if you haven’t fully grasp forefoot fundamentals. According to Archer (2011) over-striding can be corrected by running downhill because it forces you to plant the foot directly under your center of mass, thereby enabling you to glide down the hill.
More From Run Forefoot:
French, J., Long, M and Cook, B. The Perfect Stride. Athletics Weekly, 2014, July. pp44.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
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