How to Start and Stop in Forefoot Running

Starting and stopping yourself when forefoot running is easier than you think, it just requires the proper use of your upper body posture.

Upper body mechanics is sadly neglected in the biomechanics of running. Many coaches will tell you to run upright, but this is no good for acceleration and for initiating running. Overall, an upright trunk posture is good for braking, but not for take off.

How to Start Forefoot Running
Tilting forward with your upper body, while flicking your legs out from under you is how to start your engine.

How to Start and Stop in Forefoot Running

To start forefoot running, never reach out with your leg to initiate running. Your legs are not your gas pedal and are not to be used for acceleration. Moving your legs more rapidly is not required to run faster as once thought –although, having a high cadence saves energy, forcing an even higher cadence makes you less efficient. Remember, your center mass (the area between your waist and your head) is your gas pedal that controls your running speed.

The video below shows how to start forefoot running: hunch slightly forward with your upper body. This is will allow you to take off quickly.

The first thing to do is literally hunch forward with your torso and head. Next, slightly bend your knees and lift your feet out from under you. This is all you need to do to take off in forefoot running. Leaning back with your torso reverses this process by creating resistance on the forward momentum. Therefore, to stop forefoot running, gradually lean back with your anterior torso and slowly reduce your cadence, making sure to never unbend your knee at each slowing step. Never come to a dead stop by hyper-extending the knee joint because doing so is very damaging to the knee.

Here are more useful tips on forefoot running:

Learning to Lean Forward 

Proper Arm Swing

Landing Properly on Your Forefoot

How to Swing Your Legs

Squaring Your Hips

Best Shoes for Forefoot Runners

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

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.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!