When your foot lands on and pushes off the ground, it applies a force to the ground. Consequently, the ground applies a force to your foot that is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force applied by your foot.
When your foot lands out in front of your center of gravity (hips), with a large lower leg (shank) angle, your foot pushes down and forward on the ground, resulting in a ground reaction force that pushes up and back on your body—the exact opposite of what you want.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF RUNNING TECHNIQUE IS CREATING A LARGE AND VERTICAL GROUND REACTION FORCE.
To maximize the propulsive forces from the ground reaction force (and to reduce the risk of injury), you must land on the ground with a small shank angle. The shank angle at touchdown of average runners is about 16 degrees, compared to 6 to 10 degrees of proficient runners. Proficient runners land with the foot closer to underneath their hips.
To create this small shank angle, practice pulling your leg back toward you before your foot lands (like a cat or dog pawing the ground), as if you are sweeping your leg through a vertical line below your center of gravity. You can practice this while running and through specific drills.
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