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Slow Motion Videos of Runners at the 2012 US Olympic Trials: 1500 and 5000 Meter Women’s and Men’s Races

Women's 5000 Meter FormBelow are an excellent series of videos shot with a high-speed video camera by PT Jeff Moreno from Precision Physical Therapy and Fitness in Santa Cruz, CA.

While you watch the videos, which Jeff originally posted on his clinic’s blog, keep an eye on the landing position of the foot relative to the knee at initial ground contact – it almost always lands right under the knee in each runner. Elites like these have long strides to attain the speeds that they do, but stride length comes via hip extension on the back side, and not via reaching with the foot out front. This is one of the biggest differences that I consistently see when comparing runners like these to recreational runners in heavily cushioned shoes (like many runners in this video).

First, here is the women’s 1500 meter final, about which Jeff says “Of all the athletes I saw run at the Olympic Trials, Morgan Uceny was an example of exceptional form and running economy.”:

Next is the men’s 1500 meter final:

Next, the women’s 5000 meter final:

Finally, the men’s 5000 meter final:

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Mike LaChapelle says:

    It seems like Morgan Uceny doesn’t extend her foot as far forward as the other women in the 1500 m race. She doesn’t appear to be “reaching” as much.

  2. Interesting how lightly they strike the ground. They seem to spend a nano second touching the ground with each foot fall. Great videos and thanks for sharing.

  3. Jwcamelshump says:

    What really struck me from these videos was that running really is a series of one legged hops or jumps, repeated. I think I have that concept on my mind from one of your other recent posts or from Tread Lightly. Thanks for the great work.

  4. Unclad Lad says:

    I find it interesting that none of these runners barefoot, wore five fingers or other minimalist shoes… they all looked to be wearing conventional running shoes.

  5. To extend what Mike said, i thinks its worth noting that the majority of them still extend their foot out well past the knee during the flight phase (some more than others), but all have drawn the foot back to be under the knee when they actually contact the ground.

    Im already sold that i need to land with my foot under my knee, and i tend to try and achieve that using the que that i should shorten my step out the front, ie land closer to my body.

    I cant help but wonder if the que to ‘drawback’ wouldnt also help achieve the desired landing. Must give it a try.

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