We’ll start at stage one, breaking down the full running gait cycle. The running gait cycle is broken into two main components, the stance phase when the foot in question is on the ground, and the swing phase, when the foot is not on the ground. These components can be further broken down into the absorption and propulsion phases and the initial swing and terminal swing phases.
In my opinion, the easiest phases, and the most important phases to change and correct are the breaking or absorption phase, and the terminal swing phase. First I will talk about how to improve your breaking phase. This is where the oh-so common phase “heel striking” comes into play. Heel striking is a result of over striding, which is essentially making your stride longer than it needs to be. This makes your breaking phase longer, and applies more forces on your body. It is much more efficient to strike the ground with your midfoot or forefoot. My advice for eliminating heel striking would be to avoid kicking your foot out in front of you during your terminal swing phase and attacking the ground with your foot (don’t just let your foot slap down onto the ground but rather consciously force your foot to make contact with the ground). Your shin should be making an angle of ∼5.5° (Williams and Cavanagh) with the ground when your foot makes contact. In other words, your foot should be coming down almost right underneath your knee, and your midfoot or forefoot should be making the initial contact with the ground, not your heel.
In the terminal swing phase, the thing that I stress the most is knee drive. If you drive the knee up and forwards all you have to do is snap your foot back down and it should be landing right where it needs to be. Having a good knee drive will reduce the chances of over striding and help you land in a good position to explode forward once again. When your foot makes contact with the ground, your foot should not be out in front of your knee, but rather right underneath it. If you lead every stride with your knee you should notice an increase in speed and a smoothing out of your running form (it may take a while to get used to the new form).