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Running: As Easy or Hard as Standing on One Leg

Updated: May 14

Getting started in running is as easy – or hard – as standing on one leg. The biggest difference between walking and running is that walking has a “double support” phase where both legs are on the ground. That disappears in running—you are either on one leg (single leg support) or no legs (float phase).  If you can’t stabilize on one leg standing still, it becomes almost impossible once you are in motion, and poor dynamic alignment has been associated with running injuries. 

One way for new runners to build unilateral stability is simple -- take off your shoes and balance on one leg. Think about driving your big toe into the ground and try not to roll onto the outside of your foot. Keep your hips level and your supporting hip, knee and foot in alignment. If you can balance for 30 seconds, increase the challenge by closing your eyes. 

This article originally appeared in the The Connection, TCM's weekly e-newsletter. Subscribe here.


Kristen Gerlach, PT, PhD, is a physical therapist who specializes in working with runners. She is one of the team of Motion Experts TCM has gathered to help its subscribers and participants get the most out of their running. Have a question for Kristen: [email protected] or website:


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