Timing of Your Movement When Running

8 May 2022 | Category: Running Technique Advice

For this article and the accompanying video below we are going to look at Timing. No, not time of day when you go running, not timing your move in a big race and not periodization of training timing (turns out timing could refer to quite a bit in running…). The topic is the timing of your movement when running, and how your body works in sync – specifically, we are looking at the left and right side of the body.

The topic of timing is a really important one for running technique, and it has a few different elements to it. Timing is the actual beat that you are running at. And very often you will hear of or you might have heard of a specific number in beats per minute that you want to match, or a certain cadence – don’t worry about that. For a more in-depth example of why not to worry about cadence as a cue when running, check out our article comparing Chelimo and Luis Orta.

What we want to be thinking about when we are running is to make our movement:

  • In Time
  • Even on both sides

Alright, so let’s get into what those both mean. Often people will have a right side or a left side dominant pattern of movement, and it will just be slightly off beat. Now, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you go for a 5km run, you are probably taking somewhere in the vicinity of 5000 steps. It starts to add up.

With running – they talk about death by a thousand cuts – that’s where your injuries come from. If you are off beat or if you are imbalanced with your movement, the differences go through to the legs and can create that injury. So when running what to think about whatever movements you are making, at least make them the same on both sides.

In an ideal world that would be a really great, perfect, clean movement. But even if it’s a poor movement, at least make it the same left and right. We are trying to make it even because to send the same message all the way through the body, left and right, so it is balanced.

The next bit is the timing and keeping your movement in time. This part doesn’t translate too well into text, but if you have a song that you want to run to, and you want to keep into that beat, you want those two movements to be the same and be in time. If you can think about this and create that equal amount of movement and time, you can actually start to create your rhythm. You can then really start to feel your movement and listen to your footstrike.This self awareness that we covered in the article, How do you identify your running technique?, will help you to listen to your foot pattern and feel your movement. If it is off, if the sound is different in the pattern of each foot strike, then it is a good indicator that you are not quite there yet.

We just want to work on, and seek, an even amount of movement and then an even amount of time left and right. Once you start to do that, then you’re away.

You can check out the video below for the explanation of this topic from Paul, and if you want to go really in depth about how to pattern your movement and change your gait through technique cues, check out our Membership Options.

As always, enjoy your next run!

Check out more articles, podcast appearances and running technique tips:

Triathlon Taren Podcast Interview

Triathlon Taren Podcast Interview

Triathlon Taren Podcast InterviewPaul  joined Triathlon Taren for a video based session to review his technique and then an interview on his Podcast. You can listen below and check out more of Taren’s work at https://mymottiv.com/ or on YouTube at...

read more
Runner Chats with Paul Mackinnon

Runner Chats with Paul Mackinnon

Runner Chats with Paul Mackinnon A laid back chat about life and running with Pete and Nathan from Runner Chats. Ranging from everything from hockey to Run the Bay Relay and a little bit of technique. Check out the podcast below or the rest of...

read more
Zero to Half-Marathon in 4 Months

Zero to Half-Marathon in 4 Months

Zero to Half-Marathon in 4 Months This article was first featured in Men’s Fitness Magazine.Paul MacKinnon, aka the balanced runner, gives us some simple tips on how to get from the couch to a half marathon in a few simple montha. Yep, you got...

read more
5 Ways to Improve Your 10km Time

5 Ways to Improve Your 10km Time

5 Ways to Improve Your 10km Time This article was originally featured in Body + Soul as part of the lead up to Run Melbourne. Check out the article here.To a non-runner, the thought of running 10 kilometres is pretty daunting. But with the right...

read more